Cycling review 2012
It has been an historic 2012 for cycling that has seen the sport reveal both its best and worst sides. Matt Westby takes a look back at an amazing 12 months
Last Updated: 20/12/12 11:01pm
Bradley Wiggins became the Tour de France's first British winner
Bradley Wiggins and Team GB provided the fairytales, but there was also devastating controversy as 2012 proved a year that is unlikely to ever be forgotten in cycling.
A tumultuous 12 months has seen the sport taken from the highs of Bradley Wiggins becoming the Tour de France's first British winner and Sir Chris Hoy cementing his legacy as one of the greatest Olympians of all time, to the low of Lance Armstrong's exposure as cycling's ultimate drug cheat.
It is likely to become a watershed year for the sport, with the "Armstrong era" being effectively erased from the record books and a new age of clean cycling - no better symbolised than by a drugs-free Team Sky's one-two on the podium in Paris - being ushered in.
The ups and downs have also been reflected in the season of Mark Cavendish, who appeared to have the dream year in prospect as he raced for his "home" team in the world champion's rainbow jersey.
However, although he celebrated a fourth successive victory on the Champs-Elysees in Paris in July, the Manxman failed to achieve his two main targets for the season: retaining the Tour de France green jersey and clinching gold in the Olympic men's road race.
But while Cavendish toiled on the road, Britain's track cyclists once again excelled at the London Games.
Hoy was predictably to the fore, taking his tally of gold medals to six with victories in the team sprint and keirin, surpassing Sir Steve Redgrave as Britain's most successful Olympian in the process.
The prodigiously talented Laura Trott was equally impressive as she followed up winning world titles in the team pursuit and omnium in the spring by claiming Olympic gold in the same two events in the London Velodrome.
The men's team pursuit squad, Jason Kenny and Sarah Storey continued the gold rush on the boards, but there was a tearful retirement for the queen of British track cycling, Victoria Pendleton.
While the multiple world champion claimed a second Olympic gold in the keirin, there was heartbreak in the team sprint, when she was disqualified alongside Jess Varnish, and in the individual sprint, when she was edged out into silver by her long-time rival Anna Meares.
Best moment of 2012
Bradley Wiggins, in the yellow jersey, leading out Mark Cavendish for victory on the Champs-Elysees before safely crossing the line to become Britain's first winner of the Tour de France.
Rider of the year
The 32-year-old rewrote cycling history by becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France with a dominant performance that saw him carry the yellow jersey for no fewer than 14 days, winning two stages along the way.
Quotes of the year
"We're going to draw the raffle tickets now" - Bradley Wiggins's Tour de France victory speech
"The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen" - Usada's Reasoned Decision document, which led to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles
"I say they're just f***ing w***ers, I cannot be doing [sic] with people like that. It justifies their own bone-idleness because they can't ever imagine applying themselves to do anything in their lives. It's easy for them to sit under a pseudonym on Twitter and write that sort of shit, rather than get off their arses in their own lives and apply themselves and work hard at something and achieve something. And that's ultimately it - c***s" - Bradley Wiggins's foul-mouthed tirade against those who suggested he might be doping on Twitter
Most improved rider of 2012
Laura Trott began the year as a relative unknown in the mainstream sporting world but ends it as the new queen of British track cycling after picking up two world title and two Olympic titles in a sensational season on the boards.
Biggest loser of 2012
Lance Armstrong, once regarded as one of sport's greatest athletes, is now regarded as its biggest fraud after being exposed as a serial doping cheat and having his seven Tour de France title stripped.
Look forward to 2013 with our predictions for the season to come here.