Simpson’s top ten riders of 2014

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We’ve drawn up a list of the 10 cyclists who have most impressed us this year. Alongside the high profile Grand Tour winners and record breakers we also wanted to acknowledge one or two riders who may not have won any of the big prizes but whose passion for the sport and respect for its history shines so brightly that it’s impossible not to be inspired by them.

10. Nairo Quintana – This was the Colombian’s breakthrough year, with a gutsy win at the Giro to top his second place in the 2013 Tour de France. If he hadn’t broken his collarbone he might have won the Vuelta too. Welcome to the future.

9. Geraint Thomas – Having had a strong showing at the Tour of Flanders, Thomas chaperoned Ritchie Porte across the cobbles on stage 5 of this year’s Tour. He's ridden his heart out all season and deserves a major victory of his own.

8. David Millar - In Millar’s final pro season we reflect upon an amazing career of highs and lows. A powerful rider prepared to dig in and support his team as well as TT to individual glory, in his prime Millar was one of the best.

7. Marco Pantani - 10 years after his death, Pantani’s name still stirs the passions of the cycling tifosi. Like Fausto Coppi before him, Pantani remains a legend of Italian cycling and, like Coppi, his death is still shrouded in mystery.

6. Mike Cotty – The adventure cyclist surpassed himself this year with his epic Road to Mont Blanc ride: a non-stop marathon covering 1,000km and 23,000 metres of climbing over 21 mountains in the Dolomites and the Alps.

5. Jens Voigt – The world of pro cycling is a drearier place now that Voigt has retired but what better way to bow out of a professional career than breaking the world hour record? Jensie, we salute you!

4. Marianne Vos - As the world slowly wakes up to the fact that women's cycling is here to stay, Vos continues to excel across all disciplines like no man ever has. When others dig deep, Vos digs deeper.

3. Alberto Contador – For the sheer guts and determination he displayed to come back from breaking his leg in the Tour de France to win the Vuelta just two months later, beating Chris Froome in a direct Grand Tour rematch.

2. Sir Bradley Wiggins – For his wins at the Tour of California and World Championship time trial, his stage win in the Tour of Britain, and the fascinating insights he shared with the BBC

1. Paul Rippon – Simpson trade team rider (albeit one who hasn’t yet ridden with the team) for successfully completing a truly heroic six-day LEJOG on a single-speed.

All images exclusively commissioned for Simpson Magazine by Jack Chevell and Marshall Kappel.