What a year 2021 was for the British on wheels. All kinds of bikes. All types of terrain. From Lizzie Deignan’s stunning victory at the first Paris-Roubaix Femmes race to Katie Archibald’s superhuman efforts on the track alongside Laura Kenny, Sarah Storey’s historic feats to win the 17th Paralympic gold medal, and the Charlotte Beeverche SW BMX brilliance.
Trying to choose a rider of the year from this series is no shame. Each in their own way was exceptional.
Deignan began the year accompanied by illness and injury. Unfortunately for her, she failed to reach top form in time for Tokyo – her main goal. But she made up for it in a stunning way by finishing the season as the first winner of the Paris-Roubaix women’s competition, an icon of paved classics in northern France that has been held for men for more than 100 years.
Deignan provided a fitting historical scenario for a historic race that carried out its winning move, an incredible 79 kilometers from the finish line, created a gap and then stopped its longtime rival Marianne Vos, who was desperately trying to twist it. It has been a show for centuries.
As she wrote in The Road Book 2021, a cycling almanac edited by Ned Boulting: “I really felt like the moment was bigger than me. I really felt like I was part of history. Then I said that I felt the power of generations of women. “
Images of Deignana’s hands bleeding from the battle with the paving stone and her red-painted nails looking out of the steam in the famous concrete showers in Roubaix as she took a shower after the race perpetuated the opportunity.