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January 13, 2020
For the fourth year in a row, we’ve been been thrilled and moved by the entries in the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards. Today, we’re excited to bring you the 2019 winners, whittled down from over 1,200 images shot by photographers in 36 countries.
The Awards are an annual highlight for us at CyclingTips, allowing us to shine a light on the best of road cycling photography while also playing a part in raising funds for worthy causes including cancer research.
The competition was established to celebrate the life and work of Mark Gunter, a much loved and deeply missed Australian cycling photographer who tragically lost his battle to oesaphageal cancer in late 2015, leaving behind a young family. The bulk of the work behind the scenes on the competition is done by Leeanne Gatien, Mark’s wife, who works tirelessly on this competition every year to ensure Mark’s legacy lives on. We can’t thank you enough, Leeanne.
This year, our judging panel consisted of three active professional cycling photographers – Chris Auld, Pauline Ballet and Simon Wilkinson – all of whom are widely acclaimed, as well as being past entrants in the competition. Overseeing the judging process was our honorary judge, cycling photography legend Graham Watson, who offered his experience and guidance for the fourth consecutive year, and provided his selections for the new ‘Graham’s Choice’ category.
The judging process required the three judges to assess the merits of each of the hundreds of images, select a personal shortlist of ten – without knowing who the photographer was to ensure there was no bias – before a lengthy conference call across three timezones where the judges went in to bat for their favourites. The final standings you see here are without exception the result of significant reflection and deliberation.
This year, we’re showcasing the Top 10 in each category. We hope you enjoy this showcase of the winners and runners-up, their images, and the story behind their image.
Our sincere thanks to our sponsors, for the incredible prizes on offer this year:
And finally, a massive thank you to all entrants and donors – you’ve helped raise thousands of dollars for some very worthy causes. If you have enjoyed the photos and would like to donate to raise funds for cancer research, you can do so here.
The Professional category was hotly contested this year, with photographers around the world jostling for the honour of being named the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year, along with cash prizes for the top three.
Image by Kristof Ramon @kramon_velophoto: “1 of the most impressive procycling moments of 2019: Annemiek van Vleuten attacks up Cray Hill (during the 2019 Worlds in Yorkshire) and initiates a mammoth 100+ km solo ride into Harrogate that would crown her the new Elite Women World Champion. The atmosphere of Yorkshire was perfectly captured as well here.”
Image by Luca Bettini @lucabettini87: “Milano Sanremo, Capo Berta a group of fans lit smoke bombs as the group passed by.”
Image by Zac Williams @z_w_photography: “This image is from Stage 18 of the 2019 Tour de France. It shows Julian Alaphilippe descending the Col du Galibier, solo, after being dropped by the GC favourites on the climb. Alaphilippe flew past me into the blind corner behind where I was stood, truly laying everything on the line to secure another day in yellow.”
Image by Chiara Redaschi @chiara_redaschi: “Loulou just after his victory at Milano Sanremo, a moment of pure joy with his masseur.”
Image by Tomas Montes @arrieredupeloton: “On the third day of the Pan Celtic Race, the ultra-distance race would pass through an iconic Irish place called The Dark Hedges. Matt, the organiser, led us there to try to photograph the head of the race. But when we arrived at the place I thought it wasn’t worth the photo because it was full of tourists. But for once the rain was allied with us and a huge storm dumped upon us by emptying the place and creating the perfect scenery to capture the place and the toughness of the race it self.”
Image by Kristof Ramon @kramon_velophoto: “”Hugging Helmets” > Team Jumbo-Visma just won the opening TTT in Brussels of the 2019 TdF. In the scrum that followed, I had no better option then to stretch my arm above it and eyeball (and shoot) a few frames. The resulting pic captured the outburst of joy perfectly.”
Image by Jordan Benjamin-Sutton @peloton_perspective: “Mads Pedersen is surrounded by the media after claiming victory in the 2019 World Championships in Harrogate.”
Daghan Perker (United States) takes out third place with this emotional capture from the Trek CX Cup. Congrats Daghan, you’ve picked up a Cash Prize of AUD $250 plus a Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year medallion.
Image by Daghan Perker @dperker: “Caroline Mani gives everything and collapses at the finish line after a hard and muddy race at Trek CX Cup.”
The top two places were extremely close, and subject to extensive discussion by the judges. In the end, second place went to Eloise Mavian (Italy), for this joyful capture of Annemiek van Vleuten’s Giro Rosa podium celebration. Comments from our judges included Chris’ assessment that “it’s got the emotion… it’s got the lot. It’s a situation that doesn’t normally warrant good photos but it’s a banger!”, with Pauline agreeing, saying simply “I wish that I’d taken it.”
Congratulations, Eloise – you’ve won a Cash Prize of AUD $750 plus Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year medallion.
Photo by Eloise Mavian @eloisemavian: “We photographers tend to avoid this kind of situation, but I couldn’t help myself with wanting to shoot up close this beautiful moment: Annemiek Van Vleuten holding her well-deserved trophy unaware of the imminent prosecco shower thrown by her teammates. Annemiek won the GC, points classification and QOM of the Giro Rosa 2019.”
The winning photograph in this year’s Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards is this dramatic image of Nicholas Dlamini leading the peloton through horrendous conditions at the Tour de Yorkshire, shot by Alex Broadway (United Kingdom). Our judges commented on the topical nature of the image, along with the image quality and content, with Pauline remarking that in her opinion there is “no discussion” that this is the best shot of the category. Interestingly, this image also won at the Guardian’s Best Pictures of 2019.
Congratulations, Alex: you’ve picked up a Cash Prize of AUD$2,500 plus the coveted Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Award trophy and medallion.
Photo by Alex Broadhead @_alexbroadway_: ‘2nd May 2019 Tour de Yorkshire – Stage 1: Doncaster – Selby – Nicholas Dlamini of Team Dimension Data leads the Peloton at Boothferry Bridge.’
The Enthusiast category traditionally receives the greatest number of entries, and this year was no exception. This category encourages semi-professionals and enthusiasts alike to submit their best work of the year, catering for equipment including Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILC), mirrorless, film, compact, DSLR and other high end cameras.
Image by Daniela Tommasi @daniela_tommasi_photography: “Cyclocross from the air. This image was taken with a drone at the Beverley Heroic, a weekend of cycling events in the Wheatbelt that celebrates one of Australia’s toughest race. The original Beverley ran from 1897 to 1999 between Beverley and Perth.”
Image by Martijn Pols @tijnpols: “The European Track Championships came to The Netherlands last fall, my chance to finally see this great sport live and shoot some nice pics too…”
Image by Angelica Dixon @angelicadixon825: “Water resistance. Travis Dixon/Pro Group Contracting Fall River Criterium/ Fall River, MA.”
Image by Ron Short @shortcycles: “Morning training ride in New jersey. Photographed myself using the interval timer on my camera.”
Image by Rupert Hartley @ruperthartleyphoto: “Neil Lauder takes the Ferry from Scotland to Northern Ireland during the inaugural Pan Celtic Ultra Race. He had led the race for much of the first 1000km through Scotland, before being hit by a car near the ferry terminal in Stranraer. After 4 hours in hospital, an X-Ray showed unlike his bike, his shoulder was not broken. He boarded the ferry unsure if he could source a new wheel or be able to ride a bike. He managed both, and grimaced his way through another 1200km to take 5th place.”
Image by Roderick De Guzman @rodpedals: “When a pro rider comes home for the holidays and gets a homecoming reception (and a target on his back!). The pro taking the corner at the Teardrop with precision and speed. The other racers keeping up behind him. Local boy and EF Education First pro rider, Jimmy Whelan comes home for the Australian summer. Joins the local crits at the Hawthorn Cycling Club, showing some love!”
Image by Anthony Leutenegger @anthonyleutenegger: “”The agony of defeat.” Just after the final sprint at the CX WC in Bogense I heard a shrill scream in the finishing area. Shooting amongst the craziness past the finishing line I saw french rider Marion Norbert-Riberolle burst into tears and collapse against the fence. She sobbed along the fence whilst her mother tried to comfort her from the other side.”
h.a.velopix (Germany) takes out 3rd place with this shot, scoring a Bontrager Specter WaveCel Helmet and pair of XXX Road Shoes. Well done!
Image by h.a.velopix @h.a.velopix: “Paula Leonhardt wins the junior women’s points race at the German Track National Championships 2019. The Finals Berlin are worth a visit, a variety of different sports celebrate their national finals together at one weekend.”
In second place, our judges placed Luis Alcantarilla (United Kingdom), for this elegantly composed time trial shot. Luis has won a Wahoo KICKR CORE and CLIMB Smart Trainer System, along with a 12 month Sufferfest Training Program subscription. Congratulations!
Image by Luis Alcantarilla @eltoromediadotcom: “The British contingent. British National Time Trial champion Alex Dowsett is out of the darkness. I watched Alex at the National TT in 2018 and saw just how devastated he was to finish 3rd behind Tanfield and an absolutely peak Geraint Thomas. He prepared immensely for the Worlds, reclaiming his national title and on home roads, put in an incredible ride to finish 5th at Yorkshire2019.”
Miguel Ena (Spain) wins this fiercely fought category with this dramatic, in-the-thick-of-it shot of Julian Alaphilippe’s time trial at the 2019 Tour de France. Congrats, Miguel – you’ve won a FELT VR Advanced road bike equipped with Shimano Ultegra Di2.
Image by Miguel Ena @enasanjuan “Alaphilippe arrived in the Pyrenees with the intention of defending the yellow with teeth and nails, but nothing further from reality, with the French fans crowded in the roadside, he set the best time of the day. A serious candidate for the GC?”
Some of the best photos in the world are now taken on mobile phone cameras and action sports cams. This category encourages participants with a great eye or who have simply gotten lucky with an outstanding photo to throw their hat in the ring – this year, there were some real stunners.
Image by Mark Geary @ogaram: “Cool dad! I was out for a bike ride with my son. We stopped for a break. I saw this family group approaching, with one of the adults popping a mono. I had time to get one shot with my iPhone. This is it. Perfect! It is one of my favourite pics of the year. No preparation, no editing, just people enjoying time on their bicycles.”
Image by Emily Alexander @eealxndr: ‘Moto in turn four, riders ready…!”
Image by Matt Stevenson @mattwstevenson: “Winter is almost here, the high passes could soon be blocked. The road from Kenmore towards Crieff looking towards the east. Not for the faint hearted this road. The climb weaves over open moorland, exposed to the elements with gradients up to 25%. I’ll be back to tackle this one again in the spring but for now it’s time to enjoy lower level roads as winter closes in.”
Image by Robbie Allen @Robbiedustyallen: ”This Xmas holiday I took the bike into the mountains behind Ulladulla just near Pidgeon House and ….. far out. Not sure if it was the smoke stinging my eyes, the loss of wildlife or just acknowledging the legendary effort of our firiesbut this ride was gut-wrenchingly real. Stating this country needs rain fast… is surely the understatement of 2019.”
Image by Rasmus Pellizotti @traedekongen: “Last effort before the hotel in Bilbao after a long day in the saddle.”
Image by AJ Moran @ajmoranphotog: “In search of gravel !! early one morning the boys set out on another excellent adventure…On hitting the gravel our first section of gravel we turn left and Im blown away by the magnificent stream of light beaming through the conifers of the Southern Highlands, out came the phone and away I went !!”
Image by Graeme Langhorne @Graemelanghorne: “A freezing cold evening descent of the Col du Galibier in September. Everything about this mountain is immense, and the light disappearing behind the peaks that day was magical. #Galibier #MarkGunterPhotoAwards19.”
Galen Stilgebauer (United States) comes in third place this year, with this beautifully composed drone shot. Nice one, Galen – you’ve scored a USD$500 Castelli Gift Certificate.
Image by Galen Stilgebauer @lightersideimages: “S is for Super FUN! Colorado cyclocross State Championships, Elite men. What a race!”
Second place goes to this stunner from David Mai (United States), who wins a comprehensive Park Tool Kit. Congrats, David!
Image by Daniel Mai @sailinbum: “One of the most iconic stretches of road in California. Ridgecrest never disappoints.”
John Braynard (based in Austria) has been a regular entrant in the awards, taking third place in this category last year. This year, he takes home first place, along with a set of Mavic Allroad Pro Carbon SL Wheels. Congratulations, John!
Image by John Braynard @jbraynard: “This is the small bit of all cobble road at the very top of the Grossglockner Alpine Road in the Austrian Alps. It is one of a kind – nothing like it in the world.”
Graham Watson needs no introduction. With a career spanning 40 years, he’s been behind the lens of some of the most iconic images in cycling history. Since the first edition of the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards, Graham has been one of the judges. This year, whilst he didn’t play a role in the selection of the top 10 for each of the categories, he generously offered to come back and sit in on the judging process, as well as providing a shortlist of his own. Everyone selected as ‘Graham’s Choice’ in the Enthusiast and Smartphone/Action Cam categories will be recognised, and the top three choices will receive a Graham Watson poster signed by Graham.
1st: Image by Wouter Hoogenboom @bicycle.racing.pictures: “After periods of rain, huge puddles of water accumulate at Floyd Bennett Field, a former airfield in Brooklyn that is occasionally used for bicycle racing. For the racers, the water may be nuisance, but for the photographer it is a gift.”
2nd: Image by Jon Turner @jondturner: “Col du Petit Saint Bernard – May – Snow Patrol! We went in search of snow walls and it was an exceptional year. Shot from high above with a 300 mm lens in zero temperature. In order to capture these images I am also riding so carrying my camera gear and looking after it in bad weather is a challenge. I’ve stood on the same road at the same time in 2017 and it was 26 degrees! This year was incredible – and brutal all at once!”
3rd: Image by Miguel Ena @enasanjuan “Alaphilippe arrived in the Pyrenees with the intention of defending the yellow with teeth and nails, but nothing further from reality, with the French fans crowded in the roadside, he set the best time of the day. A serious candidate for the GC?”
1st: Image by Galen Stilgebauer @lightersideimages: “S is for Super FUN! Colorado cyclocross State Championships, Elite men. What a race!”
2nd: Image by Daniel Mai @sailinbum: “One of the most iconic stretches of road in California. Ridgecrest never disappoints.”
3rd: Image by Mark Geary @ogaram: “Zachary Marshall and Daniel Gandy do a sling at the recent Australian Madison Champs. My GoPro was on the bike of Jensen Plowright at the Australian Madison Champs. This race is like no other – riders take turns to race and sling the new rider into race pace.”
When Mark Gunter passed away at the age of just 41 years old, he left behind a young family, including a 15 month old son, Lucas. When Mark’s wife Leeanne first teamed up with us to run the Awards, one of her hopes was that the awards would become something that would show Lucas (now five) just how much his father was loved and respected in the cycling community.
Leeanne writes: “I’d been trying to get Lucas excited about the awards since its inception but it wasn’t that interesting – until now!
This year Lucas wanted to be involved – and I was thrilled! He loved looking through the photos each week, and when I said I was putting together the Judges Shortlists he suggested that he could provide his List. So here it is – Lucas’s List. It’s a selection that grabbed his attention.
Lucas also wanted to meet the Judges – and while on the video call he did. And he showed them his List. I’m a very proud Mum, and just so happy that Lucas is part of what is his Dad’s legacy.”
Craig Huffman @craigsclicks: ‘“Do Not Enter” – Fixie racers venture into the darkness during the Women’s Open Final at Mission Crit 6, an unsanctioned fixed gear criterium race held on a short, technical circuit in the Mission District of San Francisco, California, USA on April 20, 2019.’
Brian Hodes @veloimages: ‘Boys will be boys…..Just have fun!’
Daniel Ferreira @dnl25: ‘I was positioned on the side of the road at a high point as this group synchronously descended the incredible curves. Estrada dos Romeiros – Sao Paulo – Brazil.’
Iqbal Mansor @gibberishrubbish: “In between the lines this panning shot i took of a cyclist during Cycling Selangor Criterium race.”This photo also made it onto Pauline Ballet’s Shortlist.
h.a.velopix @h.a.velopix: ‘Dominik Röber, one of the young talents of P&S Metalltechnik, a German Continental Team with amazing team spirit that fought its way to participate in the Deutschland Tour 2019. We followed the team this year on their journey.’
Matt Rousu @matt_rousu_photography: ‘Paul Van Der Ploeg and I had just finished up a sunset shoot on the top of Mt Pilot in Victoria’s Nth East, everything was packed up and we were about to head down. I turned around and saw Paul filming the scene with his phone and thought his silhouette looked amazing, I quickly pulled my camera out of the bag and asked him to ride a few laps on his CX bike. If you know Paul then you’ll know he likes to show off a bit and his few laps turned into “I wonder how high I can bunnyhop this thing.”‘
Guilherme Botelho @guilherme_botelho: ‘We climbed started this climb in Austria in the late afternoon. It got cold and dark really soon. So we decided to sleep on a hut up there. This shot was taken the next morning, we had no idea we were surrounded by snow because we couldn’t see anything the day before.’
Jon Turner @jondturner: ‘Turini – in March ! Just a great day riding with a great friend. The Maritime Alps are a special place.’
Phil Hoppley @Hoppers_p: ‘Every Saturday morning we ride a dawn ride around the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Greg Judin captures this great shot over Vaucluse. For me it describes the freedom of an early morning ride.’
Mark Geary @ogaram: ‘Madison action. My GoPro was on the bike of Jensen Plowright at the Australian Madison Champs. This pic captures some of the action. Leigh Howard in green is attacking. The steep bank of the turn is clear.’
Again, a massive thank you to all entrants, donors and sponsors of the competition, and Leeanne Gatien for her tireless work in the awards’ administration.
It’s been fantastic to again be able to help raise funds for cancer research. If you’d like to donate, please feel free to do so here.
We’re sure you’ll agree that it’s a fitting showcase of a stunning year in cycling photography, and we’re proud to have been able to bring the awards to you again this year.