Panache Awards 2016
Panache isn’t about winning, it’s about the manner in which you fight. For cycling, a coup de panache means riding with daring, risk and flair. It means romantic moments of reckless courage, attempts to win against the odds and audacious moves that bring unexpected results.
For the past seven years we have honoured bike racers who have produced exceptional moments of panache; from the season’s start down under, through all the Classics and the Grand Tours. We asked some of our friends to nominate their favourite moments of 2016. You can see them below, running in reverse order.
Let us know yours using #panache2016 on Twitter or Instagram.
ƐƖ. Sergio Henao
Stage 7, Paris-Nice
“One of my moments of real panache this year was when Sergio Henao waited for Geraint Thomas on the final day of Paris-Nice, helping him take the race win by a handful of seconds.
It’s difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t understand bike racing why the strongest guy doesn’t just ride away. This was a nice example of the sacrifices that riders make to help their teammates when the chips are down.”
– Nominated by Dave Brailsford (Team SKY – Principal)
12. Bradley Wiggins & Mark Cavendish
Ghent Six Day, 2016
“Earmarked as Wiggins’s last professional cycling race and the last race of a stellar season for Cavendish, the ever successful duo went to Ghent with one objective – to win the Six Day.
Placed third as they entered the final, decisive Madison, the pair had it all to play for against race leaders Kenny De Ketele / Moreno De Pauw and second-placed Elia Viviani / Iljo Keisse.
What ensued was a game of tit-for-tat – attack after attack met by counter attack in the hour-long race. But with five laps to go, a final, blistering move that was timed to perfection saw Wiggins and Cavendish take the lead and the title. What better way to bow out, than to win in style?
Panache? Without doubt.”
– Nominated by Ian Fleck (Rapha Pro Team Manager)
11. Trixi Worrack
German national TT championships
“When Trixi lost her left kidney in a terrible crash in Alfredo Trofeo Binda in late March, most people thought her career had come to an end. But she was not ready to give up. I visited her in hospital a few days after she had surgery and I could see in her eyes that she would try to come back and be part of the team again. No one could have imagined that three months later she would win the German ITT national title, beating so many classy riders such as Lisa Brennauer and Mieke Kröger. This is a real example of will, strength, mental power and belief that anything is possible if you really want it!”
– Nominated by Elena Cecchini (CANYON//SRAM Racing)
10. Peter Sagan
Tour of Flanders
“Curse? What curse?
Sagan arrived at the Tour of Flanders intent on claiming his first Monument win. After escaping over the top of Oude Kwaremont with Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), the world road race champion, yet perennial Flander’s runner-up, made his move on the Paterberg.
Whilst Vanmarcke struggled to keep himself upright Sagan raced away. The onus now fell to Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) to find some sort of response to Sagan’s masterful move. But ultimately the pair were unable to offer any answer to Sagan’s brilliance and he soloed to victory for more than 12km, always comfortably in control. One of the greatest Monument victories in recent years and, not for the first time, a masterclass in panache from Peter Sagan.”
– Nominated by Rhys Howells (Team WIGGINS)
9. Lachlan Morton
Tour of Utah
When Morton launched a passionate attack at the foot of the Empire Pass during stage seven of the Tour of Utah, he sent an emphatic message to his critics. The previous day the Australian had been beaten by both the gradient and by Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) on the climb to Snowbird, losing the race leader’s jersey by more than two minutes.
Determined to win it back, he attacked at the foot of the brutal climb and soloed to the line to take the stage and the GC win. It was a move that ripped out Talansky’s heart and deprived Cannondale-Garmin of what would have been their only stage race victory in 2016. It was also a show of pure class summarised by the man himself who proclaimed after the event, “To win any race, you’ve got to be willing to lose it first.”
– Nominated by Brendan Quirk (Rapha President, North America)
8. Vincenzo Nibali
Attacks to win the Giro d’Italia
“I had to nominate Vincenzo Nibali for his performance on the 99th Giro d’Italia. He usually finds himself defending his lead but this time the Sicilian had to attack in the closing stages to be in with any chance of victory.
It took Nibali until stage 19 to take the lead, attacking with Esteban Chaves of Orica GreenEdge and then race leader Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo over the Colle dell’Agnello. Kruijswijk crashed into a snowbank, and Nibali pipped Chaves to win the stage. That at last put him in a decent position even though Chaves was holding the Pink Jersey.
On stage 20 in Sant’Anna di Vinadio, Italy, Nibali grabbed his chance. He dropped Chaves to take the race lead and put him in line for the win on the flat stage 21 into Turin, taking the win with added panache.”
– Nominated by Simon Mottram (Founder and CEO, Rapha)
7. Elena Cecchini
Thüringen Rundfahrt, Stage 6
Stage 6 at Thüringen Rundfahrt. Elena Cecchini started the stage 1min 30secs down on the general classification and with almost no chance of moving up in the overall classification. Then she attacked. It was not premeditated, it was borne out of instinct, a gut feeling that it was the right moment. Her move paid off and she turned a 1min 30sec deficit into a three-minute lead, snatched the yellow leader’s jersey and one stage later secured the overall win. It was by far the most exciting, surprising moment of the race – true suffering, followed by glory. Panache at its best.
– Nominated by Beth Duryea (Directeur Sportive – CANYON//SRAM Racing)
6. Esteban Chaves and Orica-Greenedge
Stage 21, Vuelta a España
“Esteban Chaves and the whole Orica Greenedge team that were part of Esteban’s triumph in stage 21 of this year’s Vuelta Espana.
Esteban was sitting fourth, 1 minute 20 seconds behind Contador going into the penultimate day. The whole team had the mentality that they were willing to lose everything in order to reach the podium. It was a true demonstration in team work and without the foundation of a team you can’t succeed in the sport.”
– Nominated by Hannah Barnes (CANYON//SRAM Racing)
5. Chris Froome and Peter Sagan
Stage 11, Tour de France (Carcassonne / Montpellier)
“It is rare, especially these days, to see the green jersey and the yellow jersey form an alliance. It is even more unusual to see the yellow jersey attacking with 10km to go on a flat stage. Up to that point the race had been exciting, with crosswinds forming splits throughout the day but to suggest that we’d see the yellow and green jersey riding off the front of the bunch would have sounded ludicrous before the race. So, I name Chris Froome and Peter Sagan. Sagan because he won, again, and Froome because he did something very unexpected.”
– Nominated by Andy Tennant (Team WIGGINS)
4. Diego Rosa
Attacks against orders on Il Lombardia - twice
“Italian Diego Rosa was the definition of panache on the final kilometres of Il Lombardia, attacking against express team orders. The Astana rider had already worked for more than 150km supporting his team leader Fabio Aru over the eight tough climbs in the middle of the race. When Esteban Chaves, Rigerberto Uran and Roman Bardet surged off, Rosa was cleared to go with them. Rosa would have already been at the edge of exhaustion, and got dropped on the final climb in Bergamo.
But he came back with 1,500m to go, jostling again with Chaves and Uran. He was told to ‘stay in the wheels’ by his DS but Rosa was adamant he needed to ‘surprise’ his rivals. He attacked 1,400m out then again in the final kilometre, but too soon. ‘I had to play my hand,’ he said. ‘If I had made it through, it would have worked, instead, nothing.’
– Nominated by Simon Mottram (Founder and CEO, Rapha)
3. Steve Cummings
“Seeing first hand how Steve Cummings rode this year was really impressive. He developed this ability to pick a stage long before a race and to just ride away from the favourites to win solo. It was pretty special. At the Tour of Britain, alone and outnumbered by Etixx – Quick-Step riders he went on the attack, knowing if he conceded the opportunity that day he could gain the yellow jersey on a later stage.”
– Nominated by Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension-Data)
2. Chris Froome
Stage 8, Tour de France (Pau / Bagnères-de-Luchon)
“For me Froome’s attack on the descent of the Col de Peyresourde was so out of character, especially when compared to how Team SKY usually ride. It was bike racing on instinct rather than calculation. This is what panache is all about, having the courage to go for something without hesitation.”
– Nominated by Owain Doull (Team SKY/ Olympic gold medalist)
1. Mat Hayman
“It’s fair to say that when we think of panache, Mat Hayman’s name isn’t the first that springs to mind. He has always been a stoic, selfless, doughty domestique – a rider who belongs in Mechelen rather than Monaco. When we picture Hayman we see a face that looks spent and spattered with mud. Yet this year, after many years of trying, he won Paris-Roubaix. We say ‘trying’, but he’d never tried to win it, because he thought winning was for others. His was a remarkable success for this and many other reasons – the fact he’d been injured and off the bike, riding on a home trainer rather than on the cobbles; that he was a survivor of the early break; that he beat Tom Boonen, the king of Belgium, yet nevertheless managed to be a popular victor; that when he came to a halt, and was greeted by ecstatic team staff in the centre of the Roubaix velodrome, he could not believe he had won. Best of all, winning Paris-Roubaix didn’t change Hayman. He didn’t get ideas above his station. At the Tour de France he was back doing what he thinks he does best, helping others, in this case Adam Yates, whose eventual fourth place owed rather a lot to Hayman’s help and vast experience.”
– Nominated by The Cycling Podcast (Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie, Daniel Friebe)
“Mat Hayman winning Roubaix on his 15th attempt. Hero. Never give up.”
– Nominated by Jon Dibben (Team SKY neo pro in 2017)
“It wasn’t just about the way he kept trying, or how he managed to out-sprint Tom Boonen but it was about having a superb domestique beating one of the best Paris-Roubaix riders in history.”
– Nominated by Juan Antonio Flecha (ex Team SKY pro, Eurosport commentator)