Our 2019/20 European Rider of the Year came down to a handful riders. The obvious candidate was Mathieu van der Poel, but like last year, we recognize his dominance, but are going in another direction. Laurens Sweeck came to mind after winning both the Superprestige and Belgian titles. Eli Iserbyt was also on our list as he was very consistent, except for a minor dip during the Kerstperiode. Moving over to the women’s side, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado was an obvious pick. She won three out of the four major series/rankings, including a World Championships. Fellow Dutch woman Annemarie Worst also had a great season from start to finish.
After spending some time debating between Alvarado and Worst, we decided to take the easy way out and pick both of them. We even went one step further and decided to choose the Dutch Women as a whole as our European Riders of the Year. From start to finish the Dutch women not only dominated the competition, but provided dynamic and exciting racing. Therefore, they’re our pick.
The Dutch women took five out of the top-ten, including the top two places in the final UCI Rankings. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado led the way with 2318 points, followed by Annemarie Worst who has 2255 points. Lucinda Brand and Yara Kastelijnn were fourth and fifth overall, while Inge van der Heijden slotted in at ninth. Even more impressive is that the gap between Worst and Maghalie Rochette, who sits third overall, is almost 800 points.
In the World Cup, the Dutch dominated once the racing headed back to Europe. Worst (3), Alvarado (1) and Brand (3) shared the wins as the Dutch won all the European rounds of the World Cup. In the overall, Worst took the title after a spectacular finale in Hoogerheide.
The final round of the World Cup saw Worst and Alvarado separated by one point. In all likelihood, the winner of the overall was going to come down to whichever women crossed the line first. Coming into the last technical section before the finishing stretch, Alvarado had the lead, but lost her front wheel and went down. Worst kept things upright, passing Alvarado enroute to the overall.
Worst won the title with 495 points, with Alvarado second at 480 points. Katerina Nash held on for third, another 50 points back. Once again, the depth of the Dutch went beyond the top-three with five Dutch women in the top-ten. Van der Heijden was fourth, while Brand, who only competed in five rounds, was seventh overall.
Italy’s Alice Arzuffi prevented the Dutch women from going seven-for-seven (the round in Merksplas was canceled) in the Superprestige series. Arzuffi won the second round of the series in Boom. Once again, three Dutch women shared the wins, with Alvarado leading the way with three victories. Worst had two, while Kastelijnn picked up a single victory in Gavere.
Those three riders would take the top three spots overall. Alvarado took the title ahead of Kastelijnn and Worst. This marks the first ever sweep for the Elite Women and the first overall title for the Dutch. Van der Heijden finished eighth, with fellow Dutch woman Shirin van Anrooij finishing ninth overall. This gave the Dutch four out of the top-ten places.
Like the Superprestige, the Dutch women took the top three spots in the overall. However, unlike the World Cup and the Superprestige, the Dutch women were able to win all eight rounds of the series. Kastelijn kicked things off, winning the first round on the infamous Koppenberg. Worst won the second round and Brand followed it up with a win in Kortrijk. After that, it became the Alvarado show, as she won the last five rounds of the series. Needless to say Alvarado took home the overall a head of Worst and Kastelijn.
Victories and Podiums
Looking beyond the major series and at the season as a whole, the Dutch domination becomes even more impressive. The Dutch won 48 out of 107 European races (excluding National Championships). That’s a winning percentage of 45%, meaning they won nearly half of all European UCI races. If we remove the races (34) that didn’t have a Dutch rider in the field, that percentage jumps to 66%. Of the 48 races won by a Dutch rider, they swept the podium 19 times (including Worlds). They also took home both the European and World Championship titles. The next closest European nation is Spain, which had 12 wins. However, most of these came in Spain’s national series, which had few international riders.
In terms of wins, two riders, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Annemarie Worst, took home double digit wins. Alvarado leads the way with 14 wins, which is the most of any rider. Worst took home 11 wins, which places her just behind Maghalie Rochette who had 12 wins. However, only one of those 12 came in Europe.
Dutch Elite Women Wins
|Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado||14|
|Aniek van Alphen||2|
|Shirin van Anrooij||2|
All in all, it was a dominating season for the Dutch women. We could dive deeper into the U23 and Junior Dutch Women, but we will save that for another time. When all is said and done, the Dutch women not only dominated the season from start to finish, but they made every race exciting.
Who was your European rider of the year? Join the conversation below!