Tour de France and Olympic success sees Briton edge out Boonen and Rodriguez to prestigious award

Bradley Wiggins has capped a 2012 season in which he became the first British rider to win the Tour de France and also took Olympic time trial gold by beating Tom Boonen and Joaquim Rodriguez to the prestigious Vélo d’Or award - the 'Golden Bike' - as the best rider of the year.

Besides those two high-profile victories, the Team Sky man also became the first rider to win Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné inside the same season.

Wiggins is the first Briton to win the award, launched by the French magazine Vélo in 1992 and based on a poll of thirteen journalists. Despite his world championship victory last month, 2011 winner Philippe Gilbert came fourth this time round.

Runner-up Boonen, who won the trophy in 2005, began his season in ominous manner, winning the Tour de Qatar overall, always a sign that he is on form heading into the Spring Classics, where he won the Monuments the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and he was also victorious in the E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem.

Earlier this month, Boonen was named Flandrian of the Year as best Belgian rider of 2012, with Wiggins picking up the international version of that award.

Third-placed Rodriguez, meanwhile, twice came tantalisingly close to winning his first Grand Tour this year, spending ten days in the Giro d’Italia’s maglia rosa before being edged out by Ryder Hesjedal in the final day’s time trial in Milan, and also spent 13 days in the leader’s jersey in the Vuelta until Alberto Contador wrested it off his shoulders on Stage 17.

The Katusha rider did get two high profile wins at either end of the season, however, in the Flèche Wallonne and the Giro di Lombardia, the latter enabling him to leapfrog Wiggins at the top of the UCI WorldTour ranking.

Thomas Voeckler, winner in the spring of the Brabantse Pijl and a top five finisher in Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège before going onto win one stage and the mountains classification in the Tour de France, was named top French rider of the year. Julie Bresset, winner of Olympic gold in the women's mountain bike race at London 2012, was the runner-up.

2012 Vélo d'Or

1 Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
2 Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
3 Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
4 Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing)
5 Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale)

2012 Vélo d’Or Français

1 Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
2 Julie Bresset
3 Arnaud Démare (FDJ-BigMat)
3 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat)
5 Grégory Baugé

Past Vélo d'Or winners

1992 Miguel Indurain
1993 Miguel Indurain
1994 Tony Rominger
1995 Laurent Jalabert
1996 Johan Museeuw
1997 Jan Ullrich
1998 Marco Pantani
1999 Lance Armstrong
2000 Lance Armstrong
2001 Lance Armstrong
2002 Mario Cipollini
2003 Lance Armstrong
2004 Lance Armstrong
2005 Tom Boonen
2006 Paolo Bettini
2007 Alberto Contador
2008 Alberto Contador
2009 Alberto Contador
2010 Fabian Cancellara
2011 Philippe Gilbert

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.