As the world rings in the new year, Cyclingnews takes a look back at the top cycling stories of 2018, from Chris Froome's daring attack to win the Giro d'Italia to the death of commentator Paul Sherwen. These are the stories that were read the most on Cyclingnews in 2018.
In the months between news being leaked of Froome's too-high salbutamol levels from the 2017 Vuelta a Espana and the UCI dropping anti-doping rule violation proceedings against him, the Tour de France organisers sent a message to Team Sky that Froome would not be welcome at their race.
Froome's doping control before he won the Vuelta tested well over the allowed limit, but UCI rules allowed him to race while his case was pending. After he won the Giro d'Italia and the case was still not resolved, the ASO said it wanted to avoid being put in a situation like the Giro, "where the final victory of Froome is now marked with an asterisk".
After months of legal wrangling, WADA recommended the UCI dismiss the case without Froome undergoing a controlled pharmacokinetic study, saying it would be impossible to reproduce the conditions of a Grand Tour in a laboratory.
Undaunted by being more than three minutes down on Giro d'Italia leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Froome launched an attack on the Colle delle Finestre and continued for over 80km, cresting the Sestrière and finishing on the Jafferau.
As Yates cracked and the gap to defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) yawned, jaws dropped around the world at Froome's astonishing performance to take the maglia rosa by 40 seconds and claim his third straight Grand Tour victory.
"When it was all done and dusted on Friday evening, I was left scratching my head. In fact, I’m still struggling to make coherent sense of what occurred," York wrote after Froome's Giro d'Italia victory.
York's editorial put Froome's performance into context, noting that after Froome's crash in the preview of the Jerusalem prologue and his unremarkable first half of the race, most commentators thought his Giro was over.
"There wasn't one person outside of Sky who seriously thought the GC situation was retrievable at the start of the third week," York wrote. "We’ve either witnessed a script straight out of Hollywood or we are being taken for mugs again."
The Velon group had proudly released power data for the top riders during each stage of the Giro d'Italia, but after the most gripping stage of the race, there was one glaring hole in their press release - stage 19's data was missing Froome's power numbers.
The data did not come out until three days later, on Monday after Froome had been crowned the winner.
Froome averaged 397 watts over 3.02km, attacking for 11 minutes to ride away from Dumoulin and Yates, his cadence averaging 95rpm on the 9.3 per cent gradients. Dumoulin's numbers were similar, but it was not possible to do direct comparisons between the data because the riders' weights were not available and the data were not provided for the exact same sections of the course.
The cycling world lost one of its most well-known and beloved commentators in early December when Paul Sherwen passed away from cardiac arrest in his sleep at the age of 62.
Sherwen, a former professional racer, began his career as a commentator in 1986 while he was still racing, beginning his long-running partnership with fellow Briton Phil Liggett. Between racing and commentating, Sherwen attended 40 Tours de France.
Belgian Michael Goolaerts lost his life at the age of 23 after suffering a cardiac arrest during Paris-Roubaix. The Veranda's Willems-Crelan rider collapsed on the Chemin de Saint-Quentin sector and died later that night in hospital.
The race organisers declared in June that they have renamed the stretch as Secteur Michael Goolaerts, and have erected a monument where he fell.
Peter Sagan ended any doubts that he was capable of winning Paris-Roubaix, putting in an attack with 54km to go, sweeping through remnants of the day's early breakaway, and working with a tenacious Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale) to open an unassailable gap.
The Bora-Hansgrohe rider then out-sprinted Dillier to become the first world champion in 37 years to win in the famed Roubaix velodrome.
Although his victory was quickly overshadowed by the news of Goolaerts' death, Sagan's performance was one of the most notable rides of the year.
Vincenzo Nibali looked set to light up the Tour de France, following an attack by Froome on Alpe d'Huez. The Bahrain-Merida rider vanished into a plume of coloured smoke and the crush of overzealous spectators, and when the cameras found him again, he was getting up from a crash.
Nibali finished the stage, but was diagnosed with a fractured vertebra and was forced to abandon the Tour overnight. The mystery of exactly what happened was solved when a fan video emerged showing that he had collided with a spectator.
It's not just the fans... Chris Froome was crashed by a Tour de France gendarme after stage 17. The Team Sky rider was wearing a nondescript grey rain jacket and descending the Col du Portet when a gendarme apparently mistook the four-time Tour champion for a fan and pulled him off his bike.
Froome cussed out the gendarme and was allowed to go on his way, unharmed by the crash. Earlier in the stage, a fan had attempted to grab race leader Geraint Thomas but the Welshman avoided being pulled down.
Geraint Thomas' Tour de France lead suffered a minor blow when teammate Gianni Moscon was ejected from the race for punching Fortuneo-Samsic rider Elie Gesbert during stage 15.
Moscon's reputation had preceded him, having been accused of intentionally crashing Sebastian Reichenbach and hurling racial abuse at Kevin Reza, and being disqualified from the Worlds for holding onto the Italian team car in 2017.
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