A very worthy winner

The polls are closed and the result is in. Without any further ado here is the rider you’ve chosen to be your Mountain Biker of the Year 2017…

mountain biker of the year

The one and only Mr Sam Hill

Congratulations Sam Hill!

This probably won’t be a surprise to many but with around 20% of the total vote Sam’s victory wasn’t as overwhelming as some may have predicted. But take the win he did and is it any wonder?

As well as stealthily surprising everyone by taking the overall win at this year’s Enduro World Series, Sam’s performance at the DH World Champs (on his enduro bike no less) has already passed into legend.

Perhaps the key reason people voted for Sam Hill was not his racing results but the fact that he’s doing what he wants and is enjoying riding a mountain bike.

Sure, maybe if he’d have ridden a Downhill race bike and clipless pedals at the World Champs he would have ended up on the podium but that’s not the way Sam Hill does things.

As it is, 6th spot on an enduro bike with flat pedals is arguably the result that people think about most with 2017 DH World Champs.

Even after all these years as a professional mountain biker – he’s been racing on an international level since 2001 – Sam Hill is still doing the impossible and doing it on his own terms.

The runners up

2nd spot is Manon Carpenter.

3rd is Craig Evans.

mbr 2017 Mountain Biker of the Year nominations

Much like the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year bunfight we came up with a list of 12 nominated people for this award. The shortlist was been drawn up after you sent us in your suggestions via social media. Racers understandably dominated the list but there were a couple of non-racers in there.

Below are the reasons each rider who made it on to the final shortlist. In alphabetical order…

Manon Carpenter. Pic: Irmo Keizer

Manon Carpenter

In August this year Manon carpenter shocked mountain bike racing fans by announcing her retirement. The subsequent avalanche of positive support she received from the online commenting community (not known for their kindness it has to be said) spoke volumes for the esteem with which she was – and is – held.

Aaron Gwin

Simply the best. Sure, he won the overall UCI World Cup Downhill title and all that. But arguably his ‘impossible’ run down a filthy Mont-Sainte-Anne is the reason he’s on this list. Another level.

red bull hardline 2017

Craig Evans. Pic: Sven Martin/Red Bull Content Pool

Craig Evans

Nice guys don’t always finish last. Craig might be a surprise appearance on this list to some but he’s one of the most liked riders on the circuit and his victory at this year’s particularly bonkers Red Bull Hardline was mightily pleasing.

Mike Hall (Credit: Kinesis/Justgiving) Credit: Kinesis

Mike Hall

March brought the terrible news that British endurance cyclist Mike Hall was killed in collision with vehicle in an Australian bike race. A more consummate and complete cyclist we are unlikely to ever see again.

sam hill

Sam Hill. Pic: Team Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic

Sam Hill

History was made in 2017 as a Downhill legend became an Enduro legend. The one and only Sam Hill went and won the Enduro World Series. And the seemingly calm and easy-going manner in which he did it was actually quite frightening. The GOAT?

annie last

Annie Last on the top spot. Pic: British Cycling

Annie Last

Yes the picture above does show a British mountain biker on the top step of a XC World Cup race. At Lenzerheide in July, Annie Last became the first UK winner in women’s XC World Cup for twenty years. “But today I was just like ‘ride your race, ride your race’ and yeah, it paid off.”

Greg Minnaar in happier times. Pic: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Greg Minnaar

Unlucky Alf on Big Wheels. From the post-Lourdes-qualifying ‘foregone conclusion’ to a damp squib mechanical-suffering end of season, Minnaar had a true rollercoaster of emotions in 2017. Snapping his frame on a wooden post was the least of his problems. Retiring soon? Not likely. He wants to win the World Cup Series, again. And the World Champs, again.

Myriam Nicole. Pic: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Myriam Nicole

Myriam ‘Pompon’ Nicole is no doubt sick of folk mentioning Rachel Atherton’s injury-induced absence from most of the 2017 race season. But staying uninjured is part of being a successful racer. That and being fast on a bike. Myriam is a great example of how racing can actually be fun (or at least appear to be so anyway!)

Nino Schurter. Pic: Michal Cerveny

Nino Schurter

Undoubtedly the greatest male cross country racer of all time, Nino literally had a perfect season in 2017. He won ALL rounds of the XC World Cup. And then he won the World Championships too. He’ll probably do it again next year too. Unbeatable?

Tahnee Seagrave. Pic: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Tahnée Seagrave

Downhill racing was hugely exciting this year and a bit part of the reason why was Tahnée Seagrave. Tahnée actually won more women’s World Cup DH rounds (three in total) than anyone else in 2017. Next year brings us the prospect of Seagrave vs Nicole vs Atherton title chase. We can’t wait.

Fabio Wibmer

The only real contender for Danny MacAskill’s YouTube crown. Fabio Wibmer had a breakthrough year in 2017. Danny MacAskill: “He’s out there doing his own thing and doing it very well. When I watch it, I think I need to start generating this sort of stuff, but I think I might just leave the ball in his court. He’s 21 and I’m 31, so he’s definitely the new guy coming through. It’s cool to see.”

red bull foxhunt

Katy Winton. Pic: Sven Martin

Katy Winton

The “Wee Scottish mountain biker racing all over the planet for Trek Factory Racing Enduro” had another excellent race season in 2017 with an impressive podium place at the Enduro World Series overall. Watch: Get inspired by Katy Winton shredding through a Scottish winter.

Online voting will close at the end of the month and the winner of mgr 2017 Mountain Biker of the Year will be revealed!