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Reader Poll Best rider of the Year: Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins(Team Sky) run of awards and recognition after his hugely successful 2012 season continues, with the Briton receiving more than ten thousands votes to win the Cyclingnews best rider of the year category.

Wiggins often divides opinions, yet he racked up 10,560 votes, almost  double the total of second placed Peter Sagan, who received 5038 votes.

The season's big winners naturally filled the top ten on the Best  rider of the year category: Tom Boonen was third with 4018 votes, reflecting his dominance and prowess in the spring classics, while Marianne Vos was fourth with 3111 after her world title victory on home roads in Valkenburg and her gold medal in the rain soaked road  race at the London Olympics.

Readers showed their support for great stage race performances too,  with Joaquim Rodriguez finishing fifth with 2437 votes. Ryder Hesjedal's victory at the Giro d'Italia was not forgotten, with the Canadian finishing sixth with 1400 votes. Also in the top ten were British track sensation Laura Trott, Andre 'Gorilla' Greipel for  another season of consistent sprint, the hugely talented US female rider Evelyn Stevens and Olympic men's Sprint champion Jason Kenny.

Wiggins secured the crown of Cyclingnews's rider of the year for his stage race results but also for his standout personality.

Of course not everyone was shouting 'Allez Wiggo!' in July. Not everyone admires his calculated racing style, or his potty mouth antics and his mod-inspired style.

Compared to many other pro riders, he is unorthodox and original. His personality is not dampened or dumbed down by the fatigue of hours in the saddle. He is self affacing and funny, and often refuses to follow the Team Sky script, hating to roll out perfect sound bites the television media expect from him.

It was easy to see 2012 would be Wiggins' year as early as Paris-Nice. The Team Sky machine was in place and Wiggins used the week long March race as a test for the Tour de France. He then did it again at the Tour of Romandie and again in June at the Critérium du Dauphiné. He was on an unstoppable roll.

Second place in the prologue time trial at the Tour de France set the scene for the three weeks to come and he avoided the multitude of crashes in the first week before imposing his authority on the race on the first mountain finish at La Planche des Belles Filles. He then tightened his grip on the yellow jersey in the Besançon timetrial and his Team Sky teammates helped him strangle the race and reduce his rivals chances to next to nothing.

Indeed in the Pyrenees, only teammate Chris Froome emerged as Wiggins' rival. Froome was arguably stronger on the climbs but did not have the room to truly challenge his team leader, despite venting his frustration with some unexpected surges.

There are conflicting reports on how much Wiggins suffered from Froome's internal rivalry but he then imposed his superiority by winning the final time trial from Bonneval to Chartres and rolled into Paris in yellow as the first British winner of the Tour de France.

Wiggins' life would never be the same again and his popularity, especially in Britain, increased even further when he won gold in the time trial at the London Olympics. He is assured of a knighthood from the Queen in the New Year Honours list and was crowned as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, further lifting cycling in Britain into the mainstream.

When Wiggins was hit by a car out training in November it was front page news for several days and the paparazzi hovered outside his home. He responded in Wiggo style, showing the paparazzi and so the world, the middle finger.

He has yet to clarify if he will target the Giro d'Italia, the hundredth edition of Tour de France or perhaps even a rare double in 2013. Whatever goal he chooses, it will be fascinating and entertaining to see if and how he can handle the pressure and the expectation all over again.


Best rider of 2012 Cyclingnews Reader poll
1Bradley Wiggins38%
2Peter Sagan18%
3Tom Boonen14%
4Marianne Vos11%
5Joaquím Rodríguez8%
6Ryder Hesjedal5%
7Laura Trott0.8%
8Andre Greipel0.7%
9Evelyn Stevens0.7%
10Jason Kenny0.30%

Total votes: 27409

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