Mark Cavendish, world champion Julian Alaphilippe, Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar and Classics rivals Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel are amongst the 12 riders nominated for the annual Vélo d'Or awarded by Vélo Magazine in France.
The Vélo d'Or was created in 1992 and is arguably the most prestigious award of the year, with full results announced in December, with the winner usually gracing the cover of the magazine. Vélo Magazine, like French sports newspaper L’Equipe, is owned by the Tour de France organisers ASO.
The winner of the award is decided by a panel of cycling journalists from many of the leading cycling magazines, websites and newspapers. A Vélo d'Or is also awarded to the best French rider of the season but there is not yet a women’s Vélo d'Or.
The 12 nominees for the 2021 Vélo d'Or are Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen, Egan Bernal, Richard Carapaz, Mark Cavendish, Sonny Colbrelli, Harrie Lavreysen, Primož Roglič, Tadej Pogačar, Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel, and Annemiek van Vleuten.
Annemiek van Vleuten is the only woman in this year’s international Vélo d'Or. She won a gold medal in the Olympic time trial and also won the season-long UCI Women's WorldTour, with victories at the Tour of Flanders, Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa and a haul of other placings.
Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands is the only track cyclist among the nominees. He dominated the sprint and team sprint competitions, winning two gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, two World titles and two European Championships.
Primož Roglič won the Vélo d'Or in 2020 and is likely to be a contender again this year after he won a third consecutive Vuelta a Espana and the Olympic time trial. Fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar is likely to secure a number of votes for his second consecutive Tour de France win and success at liege-Bastogne-Liege and Il Lombardia. Wout van Aert placed third in the 2020 Vélo d'Or and will no doubt clash with van der Poel after their dominance in the Classics.
Mark Cavendish also earned his nomination by equalling Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins at the Tour de France, while Julian Alaphilippe won a second world title, Egan Bernal won the Giro d’Italia and Kasper Asgreen won the Tour of Flanders.
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