Never in Cyclingnews Reader Poll history has a woman managed to beat out the men in a combined cyclo-cross category, but times are changing, and the new generation of superwomen have risen in stature. It took a rider who won four world titles across three disciplines over the course of 12 months to do it, and that was Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
Ferrand Prevot topped the Reader Poll titan of cyclo-cross, Sven Nys, who has claimed 13 Best Cyclo-Cross Rider titles in our poll, garnering 28 per cent of the vote to the Belgian's 25.
Although arguably the most dominant rider of the year, Wout Van Aert could only muster 24 per cent of the vote, while the men's world champion Mathieu Van der Poel scored just 14 per cent.
Ferrand Prevot raced a limited 'cross campaign, and her title in the French championships was her only cyclo-cross victory before the World Championships in Tábor, but the scintillating battle she waged with Belgium's Sanne Cant, and her utterly vicious sprint to take the win won over the hearts of our readers.
It was a fine follow up to Ferrand Prevot's similarly thrilling victory in the UCI Road World Championships. She continued her streak with titles in the Cross Country mountain bike and team relay world titles.
The women's race was absolutely one of the most exciting races of the season, hands down, and Ferrand Prevot walked away with a well deserved rainbow jersey and our best of the year award.
By comparison, the elite men's race, which was expected to be a similar two rider battle between Van Aert and Van der Poel, had the fans groaning in sympathy as Van Aert suffered mishaps and mechanicals and his Dutch rival raced solo to victory for almost the entire race.
Best Cyclo-cross Rider of 2015 - Results
|1||Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv)||28||%|
|2||Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink)||25|
|3||Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice Golden Palace)||24|
|4||Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-PowerPlus)||14|
|5||Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin)||9|