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Gallery: Dave McElwaine's photos of the year

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Adam Craig (Rabobank Giant) racing onto the podium at the USGP in Bend, Oregon

Adam Craig (Rabobank Giant) racing onto the podium at the USGP in Bend, Oregon
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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USA Champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) riding some steps at the Planet Bike USGP

USA Champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) riding some steps at the Planet Bike USGP
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Elite Men scrambling up a steep climb at the Gloucester Grand Prix

Elite Men scrambling up a steep climb at the Gloucester Grand Prix
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Pua Mata (Sho-Air/Specialized) on her way to winning the Whiskey-50 Mountain Bike Race

Pua Mata (Sho-Air/Specialized) on her way to winning the Whiskey-50 Mountain Bike Race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) at the start of the Windham World Cup race

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) at the start of the Windham World Cup race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Elite Women on the course in Bend’s Old Mill District

The Elite Women on the course in Bend’s Old Mill District
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com) racing veteran Mary McConneloug in Northampton, Massachusetts

Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com) racing veteran Mary McConneloug in Northampton, Massachusetts
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collabortive) racking up back-to-back USGP victories on the Louisville world championship course

Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collabortive) racking up back-to-back USGP victories on the Louisville world championship course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Olympian Lea Davison (Specialized) descends a treacherous section of the Mont Sainte-Anne world cup course

Olympian Lea Davison (Specialized) descends a treacherous section of the Mont Sainte-Anne world cup course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ben Berden (Raleigh Clement) in the mud at the Gloucester Grand Prix

Ben Berden (Raleigh Clement) in the mud at the Gloucester Grand Prix
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Racing during autumn in New England

Racing during autumn in New England
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Elite Men christen the world championship course in Louisville

The Elite Men christen the world championship course in Louisville
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ben Berden (Raleigh Clement) raced ferociously this season in the United States

Ben Berden (Raleigh Clement) raced ferociously this season in the United States
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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USA Champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) sprinting against his nemesis Ryan Trebon (Cannondale)

USA Champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) sprinting against his nemesis Ryan Trebon (Cannondale)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Neils Albert winning the World Championship in Koksijde, Belgium

Neils Albert winning the World Championship in Koksijde, Belgium
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Juniors racing at the World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium

Juniors racing at the World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon) claiming victory in the Leadville 100

Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon) claiming victory in the Leadville 100
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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World Marathon Champion Christoph Sauser (Specialized) competing in the Leadville 100

World Marathon Champion Christoph Sauser (Specialized) competing in the Leadville 100
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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World Champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) always takes time out for her adoring Canadian fans.

World Champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) always takes time out for her adoring Canadian fans.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jose Hermida (Multivan) riding the difficult Mont Sainte-Anne World Cup course with ease

Jose Hermida (Multivan) riding the difficult Mont Sainte-Anne World Cup course with ease
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) being cheered by the fans at the USA XC Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho

Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) being cheered by the fans at the USA XC Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Katerina Nash often battled her own Luna team-mates again this year.

Katerina Nash often battled her own Luna team-mates again this year.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

Cyclingnews' photographer for mountain bike and cyclo-cross events, Dave McElwaine, presents his top photographic moments of 2012 in this gallery of emotion-filled images.

McElwaine captures the grit - literal and figurative - of the off-road races, focusing in on the pain-filled faces of the competitors and zooming out to reveal the torturous courses that challenge them.

How did he get into cycling photography?

"My interest in photography began when I graduated from college and went to work for Polaroid as a design engineer," McElwaine said. "Twenty years later I was Director of New Business Development for Ilford Photo USA. About a decade ago I decided to combine my passion for cycling with photography, and now feel privileged to shoot races nearly every week."

It's not all glamour for the photographers who work off-road. McElwaine battles ankle-deep mud, rocky embankments and sometimes stormy weather to capture just the right moments in the sport, the ones that tell the tale of what went on in the race.

"Race photography turned out to be more difficult than it appeared; dealing with harsh weather, high altitude, and the time constraints of each race. But, that is what keeps it fresh and challenging for me. My goal when putting together galleries for Cyclingnews is to convey the story line and drama of each race for our readers. If art happens along the way, so much the better. it is occasionally luck, but you had to put yourself in the right place at the right time."