One year is a long time in cycling. It’s the blink of eye too. Alison Jackson’s unprecedented victory at Paris-Roubaix Femmes in 2023 feels like yesterday. It provided subject matter so good you couldn’t have made it up – an absolute dream for a cycling writer, and it happened to be the first thing I wrote about after relaunching the brand new and improved To launch with a race report so mouth-wateringly good and with fantastic images by Justin Britton felt like a real step forward, a good omen if you will, and in the year that followed, the site has flourished. It’s been amazing to expand a personal passion project into something much more significant - a platform for new voices, an alternative source of cycling media, and a place to indulge alternative angles and viewpoints. I've been able to welcome a range of contributors and to have such a positive response from all of you out there reading has made it all worthwhile.

There’s something meaningful about the site’s anniversary being Paris-Roubaix. Arguably the most mythical of all the bike races, there’s always something about the races that invites creativity, with so many stories unfolding on a day fraught with chaos and too often disaster, but always a sense of history being written. It marks the end of the cobbles and a gateway to the more open roads of the Ardennes and then the Grand Tours – a kind of blossoming of the season itself. Within one year of relaunch, I have been able to write about four editions of the race, thanks to an early Easter this year, and this in itself feels like serendipity. Read about this year’s editions here (women) and here (men).

It takes a village

Writing is by necessity, a lonely business. While I’ll always be happy to write about cycling, and have built a career around doing just that, it became clear very quickly that to become a resource that would draw a wider audience, I needed a broader range of voices. Not just to cover more of the racing scene, and to help me out during Grand Tours when doing it all yourself is simply impossible, but to give space to new voices, from a range of nations, and to offer a platform for creatives to showcase their interests and skills and perhaps establish their own foothold in a volatile industry.

In the past year I’ve featured 14 different writers and showcased the work of four fantastic artists, photographers and designers, and been ably assisted by one exceptional web developer. Most recently, I’ve appointed two News Editors to keep the site updated with the latest news and race reports. These contributors represent eight different nations, and 40% are women. They’ve given their time and talents for free, with the same belief as myself – that quality content is worth putting time and effort into, for the love of the sport.

I’ve featured contributions from four pro cyclists in their own words, alongside publishing interviews with 11 different riders, including Larry Warbasse, Pfeiffer Georgi, Adam Yates, Michael Mørkøv and Davide Ballerini, Jay Vine and Matthew Riccitello.

Above all it’s been a year in which I’ve grown to value the cycling community as a whole more than ever. We may only be connected through social media but we’ve weathered some serious storms as a collective this year, and quite honestly, it would have been very difficult to continue this project without a supportive community within which to do so.

I invited everyone who has contributed to the site over the past year to share their favourite moment from the year – Paris-Roubaix 2023 to Paris-Roubaix 2024 – in their own words, including an image, if they felt it was significant. Here is what they said – I invite you all to share your own favourite moments from last Roubaix to this, either in the comments or on your favoured social media channels – as all your voices are part of this community.

Two pros shared their thoughts...

Tom Portsmouth, Pro Cyclist for Bingoal-WB

A torrid 12 months, there is no question. I could nominate my top-10 in Il Giro Di Sicilia, but that is before ‘the recovery’ began. So, I have to select the day that has brought me the most joy within this anniversary window. De Ronde Van Vlaanderen Reconnaissance tops it. Why? I was with my teammates, on a beautiful Spring morning, in the Vlaamse Ardennen. AND I felt like myself again! I thought, whilst racing side-by-side with my Jens Reynders on the Koppenberg, I’m on the way forward. It’s coming. Just keep going. Recency bias or not, this day stands out amongst the last 365.

Derek Gee, Pro Cyclist for Israel-Premier Tech

My favourite cycling based memory from the past year was riding into Arenberg for the first time and the atmosphere and noise when I entered (although I might have Paris-Roubaix hype bias right now).

For many contributors, it was all about the live experience.

Dan Challis, writer at Global Peloton and contributor, including this interview with Max Stedman

The Glasgow World Championships created opportunities for riders from a myriad of backgrounds to compete on the biggest stage. My favourite memory from the last year was experiencing Glasgow 2023 with my kids and meeting new friends, like Olympic Refugee Team rider Amir Ansari.

Alicia Moyo, News Editor (writebikerepeat)

My favourite cycling moment from the past year, was getting the opportunity to watch my first ever race in person! After hearing that Wout Van Aert was taking part, I immediately bought myself a ticket to watch the finish of the first stage of the 2023 Tour of Britain, despite having no one to go with, and no idea what to expect. Luckily, everyone there was really friendly, and I got to see so many riders up close. It ended up being one of the best days of 2023 for me, and further strengthened my love for the sport!

Rémi Massart, News Editor (writebikerepeat)

My favourite moment in cycling is my participation in "La Curva Pinot" at Il Lombardia 2023. I flew to Bergamo for the weekend and we gathered on the last climb to celebrate Thibaut Pinot all day and night. For me, it was the first time going abroad only to see a bike race and I'm sure it won't be the last. Meeting new people sharing the same passion as me was really awesome and I'm still in touch with some of them. This weekend was incredible, one of the best I've ever had, and I will cherish this memory all my life.

Sam Mould, stats expert and contributor, Le Tour Dispatch

In Glasgow 2023, finally getting to meet some of the cycling community in real life for the first time has been the highlight of my year. Meeting like-minded people and sharing common interests in the sport we love created lasting memories and, hopefully, friendships.

The thrill of being there, lap after lap, as the field narrowed down to the top contenders was immense. However, I don't think I'll ever forget the collective gasp of the whole of Glasgow when MVDP hit the deck.

Emma Bianchi, track cycling contributor, along with this interview with Beatriz Pereira

I consider myself lucky to have made many memorable cycling experiences during the last season, but my favourite one has to be being invited to the Track Champions League in Berlin after writing about it. I got to meet some of track cycling’s all time heroes as well as upcoming stars, all thanks to this site.

Image credit: Alessia Catriona Instagram

Anna McEwen, contributor, Le Tour Dispatch

365 days that gave me a hundred different memories. Some that gladdened my heart, others that made me weep. But none of them compared to the electric feeling of being in Glasgow for the World Championships. It felt as if the whole city was alive to the joy of cycling, from the district nurse I chatted to in a lift, to the lady in the corner shop. Cycling was on everyone’s lips. It was beautiful and surreal time. From having Valentin Madouas pull up next to me at traffic lights on the way into the city, to seeing Stefan Küng and the rest of the Swiss squad practicing for the TT whilst I sipped a cappuccino in the morning sunshine. And the grand finale was witnessing Mathieu van der Poel claim the rainbow jersey on that brutal course in the fine Scottish rain. It was a beautiful dream that I wished could have lasted for ever.

Justin Britton, photographer

I’m coming at this from a perspective of being a fan of cycling, which, I assume if you’re reading this you are as well, but also a photographer. I’m newer to photographing cycling as I come from years of shooting in the athletics space across the globe. But through being at a few races last year, Tour de France Femmes specifically, I left with moments that I won’t forget. One that really hit me was at the final stage of the TDFF in Pau (TT day). I was walking around the team busses, documenting this and that when I came upon a mother with her two young daughters. One of her daughters had a sign that said “GO GIRLS”. It’s simple, yes, but on the 8th and final day the compounding of seeing the impact the event had on the fans, the staff, the riders, us in the media, it made that moment memorable.

Being there for the final podium and then to see that girl get autographs from the riders was icing on the cake. You never know what little things like that can inspire something big from young girls (and boys) in the years to come.

Peter Barnes, MTB and Femmes contributor

For me the best moment of cycling from the past 12 months was watching the Newark GP Criterium races. I took my eldest daughter and we were able to watch several races in a row, as well as chat to some of the riders beforehand and further her love of the sport. That’s the beauty of cycling; the accessibility of it and how top riders are people you can talk to like mates. Criterium racing is a great way of putting on multiple races in a relatively safe setting and getting new fans into the sport. If my daughter is anything to go by - it’s working and that’s why those races were the best moment for me.

And for some contributors, the most memorable moments resonated from beyond the roads...

Anouk Verhoeks, graphic artist and contributor to Be More Annemiek

Basically being born as a cycling fan and watching it, I was still waiting for the day a male Dutch rider would become world champion and wear the rainbow jersey. I was one when it happened last, but now we have Mathieu. When he crashed I had the visual I so often get when shocking stuff happens during races. And now you have it too.

Artwork: Anouk Verhoeks

Lace Hallendorf, author of Beyond the Tour

I wish everyone could win a Tour de France stage, but it’s just not possible, and that’s cruel, no? Matej Mohorič's post-stage interview after winning a Tour de France stage last year by the narrowest of margins takes the cake for my cycling moment of the year. With tears in his eyes, he spoke not just about his own triumph, but the immense struggles everyone faces in the peloton. His empathy for fellow riders, from his closest competitor to the sprinters in the gruppetto on tough mountain stages, alongside his raw vulnerability, reminded me why I love cycling. It's a sport of superhuman effort that pushes athletes to their limits, but also one where camaraderie and shared suffering create a unique and powerful bond.

Bence Szabó, author of State of a Crossing Nation

I barely watch any cycling with my family, so seeing Carlos Rodriguez winning stage 14 of the Tour de France with my dad was the peak for me. Explaining to him all the tactical aspects of the finale, simultaneously carried away by the emotions of the events, summed up everything I love about this sport.  

Mathieu Fraisse, contributor to Le Tour Dispatch

The Virage Pinot, stage 20, TDF 2023. What else could it be? Heart-breaking because you knew the end was near but what a joy to watch! Forever iconic.

Adam Harridence, Saint Piran Communications Officer and contributor - The Diary of a Club Cyclist Aged 50 1/2

My favourite moment was Zeb [Kiffin, Saint Piran] realising he was sixth on GC at the Tour of Britain in Wales. I was at a family party in Colchester - my favourite photo is this.

Stine Momo Agerbæk, contributor to the Giro d'Italia bulletin and Le Tour Dispatch

Memory of the last year? My initial thought was being IN Glasgow for the men's road race, but that's actually not what made my heart sing the most... No, instead it was watching on my computer as Lotte Kopecky tore up the same streets a week later, and the warm memory of seeing how women's cycling isn't a just a minor warm-up act anymore. It's a main event in its own right.

... and for my oft mentioned cycling dad? Well, his favourite cycling memory of the last year HAS to be the moment he got his very own WBR cap, right?

Moving on

It’s onwards and upwards from here, with plenty more projects in the pipeline and a plan to continue producing informative, entertaining cycling content, and I fully intend to continue without a paywall. I hope to welcome more new voices to the site, hear more from established contributors, and continue to provide an alternative to mainstream sports media. And I aim to reach my goal of paying contributors for their work by the end of 2024.

A site sponsor, or ideally sponsors, is the next step to reaching this goal. To that end, if you are, or know of, a company who would like to support a growing media channel, please do reach out and let’s talk about it.

If you are enjoying the site, please consider becoming a paid member – your support means the world and enables me to continue on my mission!

Thank you – no, I mean YOU

Above all, thanks for choosing to click on this link and read this piece today – we are all part of one big international community and I can prove this with empirical facts.

In the year since we launched this site I’ve had 29,300 visitors who have viewed the site 46,000 times, and though the UK and USA are the most numerous among the WBR audience, we’ve had hits from no less than 129 nations, from literally all around the globe. The fact that that many people want to view the site, read my words and the words of my brilliant contributors, is truly humbling. A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU for making this the best thing I ever did in my career. The sky is the limit – so keep reading, and say hi on social media – I truly appreciate all your interactions.

Until next time, enjoy the racing.

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