There have only ever been two occasions when the same rider has won the World Championships road race and time trial in the same year. The first was in 1995, when Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo conquered the worlds, the second came this year as Anna van der Breggen won both rainbow jerseys in Imola.
The 2020 season has been good for the Dutchwoman, with the world titles coming alongside wins at the Dutch national road race, the European time trial Championships, the overall title at the Giro Rosa for the third time and a seventh consecutive win at Flèche Wallonne.
Heading into her last season in the professional ranks, Van der Breggen has the world at her feet.
Speaking to Thomas Olsthoon for Procycling magazine’s December 2020 issue, she said: “My career was a success before the start of this season. That’s the reason that I was able to ride with a relaxed feeling, I believe. I’ve never won so many races within a month's time.”
She explained: “My wins at the Dutch and European Championships had already made my season, whatever happened. I knew I wasn’t the biggest contender, after scouting out the race route, but secretly I had already decided in my head that I wanted to become world champion.”
Another star of the women’s peloton, Teniel Campbell, also features in Procycling magazine this month. The Trinidadian is the first rider from her island nation to join the professional ranks of the sport, and she told Sophie Hurcom what it was like being a trailblazer.
Campbell said: “I didn’t get here through some link or knowing someone. I really worked my ass off for it, so this is what is really inspiring to them. And to be here still, and competing among the best in the world and not only surviving in the peloton but actually being competitive, it’s really a huge deal.”
The 2020 classics season was a bizarre one, falling in October rather than spring thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Edward Pickering takes a look back at the crazy month which culminated with Mathieu van der Poel’s victory at the Tour of Flanders.
“The final act of the 2020 classics season - the hard-fought sprint in Oudenaarde in which Van der Poel just edged himself ahead of [Wout] Van Aert - had the sense of a real beginning. The score currently sits at one monument each (and one for Julian Alaphilippe). There’s no way it’s going to end at that.”
Also this month’s Procycling magazine, Owen Rogers was at the Giro Rosa, one of the longest-running events on the calendar and notably one of few major stage races for the women’s peloton this season. The race was marred by crashes, poor roads and a lack of live TV, and while this year's edition was thrilling it’s position as number one looks threatened for the future.
He writes: “However, the Giro Rosa offers what other women’s races cannot. Missing only two years since its 1988 debutto, the Giro Rosa is the oldest, and at its normal 10 days, the longest stage race on the women’s calendar. The only ‘grand tour.’”
Photographer Kristof Ramon was in Belgium at Brabantse Pijl, typically the little sibling to the Ardennes classics which this year featured an all-star line up. Newly crowned world champion Julian Alaphilippe won in his first victory in the rainbow stripes, although he was almost pipped at the line for the second race running.
One of the standout riders of the Tour de France was Neilson Powless. He talked to Adam Becket about being a tourist at the grand tours, racing in breakaways and fitting in at EF Pro Cycling. He said: “It has been a really hard Tour but I think it's good, it's a good thing when a Grand Tour is harder. The cream rises to the top.”
Elsewhere, Sam Bewley discusses being at Mitchelton-Scott since the team’s inception, although he had to wait until this year to make his Tour debut. He also spoke about hosting a podcast with fellow New Zealander George Bennett and switching from the track to the road.
Another Tour debutant this year was Nans Peters, who won stage 8 in Loudenvielle at the after cresting the Col de Peyresourde, to add to his Giro stage win last year. He spoke to Edward Pickering about how he won and beat superior climbers on the way.
There is also a feature on cycling’s relationship with death, with Jeremy Whittle exploring how the peloton copes with the fact that some riders pay the ultimate price, just for racing their bike.
Plus, catch up with our regular diarists and read the thoughts of columnist Laurens Ten Dam this month.
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