The 2018 cycling season featured some stand-out moments, from Peter Sagan's 50km solo to victory in Paris-Roubaix, to Chris Froome's raid on the Colle delle Finestre to turn the Giro d'Italia on its head, and Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen's down-to-the-wire battle at La Course. Procycling's Review of the Year looks back on all those highlights and more, in the latest issue out now.
Among those who had the season of their life in 2018 was Geraint Thomas, who won the Tour de France for the first time this summer. The Welshman, who is the magazine's latest cover star, was overlooked by many as a top favourite for the race win and not even considered the main leader of his Sky team, who initially favoured four-time Tour winner and Giro victor Froome. Yet in France, Thomas rode the perfect race, untouched during the hazardous first week before winning two mountaintop stages.
Procycling editor Edward Pickering went to meet Thomas in Nice, to find out how life has changed since the Tour win, and how he handled the pressure during the race's final moments
"I felt like a boxer who was showboating. I didn't showboat, but in my head I was like, 'Come on Dumoulin, come on Roglič, give me what you've got!'"Thomas said. "The way I won the Tour, it felt like I was in control the whole time."
While Thomas's teammate Froome may not have won a fifth Tour title this July, he still endured one of the most controversial and testing seasons of his career to date in 2018. His third place in Paris followed a debut victory in the Giro, but also came amid a fight with the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency to clear his name after elevated levels of salbutamol were detected in the autumn before.
Sam Dansie spoke to Froome about his faith in WADA since he was cleared on the eve of the Tour, his victory on the Finestre, the Giro-Tour double and why he spent his off-season riding in Colombia.
One rider who proved to be Team Sky's biggest threat in the Grand Tours was Tom Dumoulin. The Dutchman endured a testing start to 2018 as crashes and mechanicals hampered his early season, but went on to finish runner-up in both the Giro and Tour. Leon de Kort sat down with Dumoulin to talk through all his high and low points, as the pair looked through the photo album of his season.
While Dumoulin conceded his time trial world title to Rohan Dennis at the Innsbruck World Championships in September, his compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten successfully defended her rainbow jersey. It capped a dominant season which also saw Van Vleuten win a debut Giro Rosa and complete her transition from Classics rider to stage racer. Despite the rainbow jersey, Van Vleuten's season ended with a crash in the Worlds road race a few days later, which left her with a broken knee and facing a long period on the sidelines. She tells Procycling why the injury has only left her more determined and hungry than ever.
For the seventh consecutive year, Quick-Step Floors finished the season as the most successful team in the WorldTour in terms of wins. Their 73 victories included two monuments in Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège and 13 Grand Tour stage wins, spread across 14 riders in the team. Procycling finds out what makes the Belgian squad so prolific.
Behind Quick-Step stands Patrick Lefevere, the Belgian cycling stalwart who has turned the squad into the victory machine it is today during his 15 years at its helm. William Fotheringham met with the team manager to find out what drives him and how he keeps Quick-Step so successful year after year.
The cobbled Classics may garner bigger headlines, but the Ardennes Classics are the hardest races of the cycling season, at least according to the numbers. According to coaches, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège are the toughest and most difficult physically to complete, as James Witts finds out.
One rider who was on the attack at Amstel Gold was Willie Smit, the Katusha-Alpecin rider who joined the WorldTour this season. The South African is somewhat an anomaly, having jumped straight from the amateur ranks to cycling's top tier aged 25. He tells Sophie Hurcom about his struggle to find his place and make it as a professional rider, and why now he's made it, the hardest work has only just started.
Plus, inside the magazine you'll find all the regular features, the latest products in cycling, an update from Dan Martin, and this month final entrants from our 2018 diarists Dylan Teuns, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Steve Cummings.
Procycling magazine: the best writing and photography from inside the world's toughest sport. Pick up your copy in all good newsagents and supermarkets now, or pick up a Procycling subscription.