The 2012 kolo t.c. Year End Awards: Pro Cyclists of the Year

kolo t.c. honors the immortals that make us feel good about riding bicycles.

For the first time ever, brings an entire week of awards to the site, honoring the cyclists around the state and around the world that make our sport the very best in the world. Nearly all of them are at least-half serious, and numerous revisions have been to be almost entirely factual. It’s not always about results, it’s not always about waistline, it’s not always about stature. This is all about good human beings pedaling.

Proudly, meet your Men’s and Women’s Pro Cyclist of the Year!

Larry Warbasse, BMC. A long while back, the skinny kid from Traverse City started out cruising around the County. Who knew where two wheels would take him? He’s now raced on a few different continents, represented the United States in more than a few world championships in a few different disciplines, and is now racing on one of the biggest teams on the planet. Earlier this fall, Larry signed on with BMC, joining a trio of former world champions and the reigning World Champion Philippe Gilbert.

But maybe his very best quality is his down-to-earth, friendly and encouraging attitude with every trip home. He’s a bit too big to race the Cherry-Roubaix anymore, but when he does get to ride in Traverse City, he makes a point of waving, chatting and joking around with anyone he runs across. Warbasse is looking ahead to 2013 with some great expectations and should get a few opportunities in World Tour races. It’ll be very interesting to see what squads BMC sends to early, week-long stage races. Larry could work himself into teams with Mattias Frank, Gilbert, and perhaps alongside fellow American Teejay Van Garderen.

Georgia Gould, Luna Pro Team. The pride and joy of the United States and one of the classiest women in the sport. Gould started 2012 as an Olympic hopeful looking to elbow her way to London while riding a tough early World Cup calendar. She was one of the most consistent riders in Europe and it looked like her luck would turn golden not once but twice when disaster struck. At most North American stops, Gould suffered a mechanicals in the final lap to lose out on her first ever World Cup victory. In Canada, her own teammates, Catherine Pendrel and Katerina Nash were the ones to ride past her in sight of the finish line. Gould’s devastation in front of the world’s cameras were heart-breaking, but it recruited her a bevy of fans heading into the Olympics.

Gould rode the race of her life to take a bronze in London, perhaps her best accomplishment of her career, which includes multiple national titles and wins. But Gould confirmed her amazing season at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships with yet another bronze, tying her best result ever. Rather than hang the bike up, she won a handful USGP Cyclocross stops before heading to Michigan for the Iceman Cometh Challenge. Sure, she got the win, but what was even more impressive was her demeanor. Everyone she talked to was taken aback with her approachability, relaxed and friendly attitude. Yours Truly was lucky enough to chat with her on a few occasions, and can proudly say she is a real person.

A huge thanks to these two worthy winners, as well as the many people who cast their votes for the winners. Georgia Gould received an almost 2-1 majority of votes in the women’s category, ahead of Marianne Vos and Emily Batty. Larry came out in a many-way tie with the likes of Jeremy Powers, Bradley Wiggins and, somewhat derisively, Lance Armstrong.

Check back tomorrow for more Year-End Awards!

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