The winning photos of the 2020 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards

by CyclingTips


2020 was a year like no other. That was reflected in the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards, too, which have once again delivered some amazing shots from passionate enthusiasts and pro photographers from all over the world.

But this year, there was a twist. In the craziness of the past year, it was clear from the entries just how much freedom the bicycle (and the camera) granted.

The unusual, solitary norm that has now become established helped create some fascinating new perspectives for entries in the competition, with some meaningful moments captured in photos and told through stories.

The awards this year were presided over by judges Kristof RamonTim Bardsley-Smith and Jered & Ashley Gruber, with Graham Watson returning as an honorary judge and offering his own top 10 in the Amateur category.

Out of hundreds of entries from every continent (except Antarctica), our judges whittled their selections down to a shortlist of ten images in both the pro and amateur categories, avoiding bias by judging without seeing the photographer’s name.

Each of those shortlists and the arguments behind them were brought to a call earlier this week, where the judges debated for over four hours to arrive at a consensus of the top 10 in each category, and ultimately, the winners.

Kristof, Tim, Jered, Ashley and Graham: our deepest thanks for your expertise and your time. It was an absolute pleasure.

We are proud now to showcase the winners here, their images, and the story behind their image, as well as the top 10 in both categories.

Thank you to everyone who was part of this year’s awards – whether as a photographer, or as a reader. Thank you also to Wahoo for generously providing prizes in the Amateur category.

And finally, and most significantly, thank you to Leeanne Gatien, the driving force behind the awards. Leeanne was Mark Gunter’s wife, and when he tragically died of oesophageal cancer, leaving Leeanne and a one-year-old son behind, the awards were established as a fundraiser for cancer charities and to allow Mark’s name to live on. Thank you, Leeanne – this is all due to you.

The wait is over…. here are the winners and your top ten in each category! Congratulations to you all.

Professional category

The professional category is open to anyone who gets a living income from their work in the field.

This category is all about the prestige – there’s a perpetual trophy that passes down each year for the winner, along with medals for the top three. Some of the finest photographers in the sport have taken out this award over the duration of the competition, and this year we are thrilled to announce that the winner is …

First place, professional category: Chris Auld, United Kingdom

“Italian cycling fans are some of the most passionate, an image that would make any Tifosis heart swell with pride, seeing World ITT Champion, Filippo Ganna riding past a giant Tricolori flag in the Giro d’Italia.” Chris Auld @cauldphoto

Congratulations, Chris! You are the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year. You’re in esteemed company, and custodian of the perpetual trophy for the next year.

Hot on Chris’ heels, we have…

Second place, professional category: Alberto Gallego (Brazo de Hierro), Spain

‘LOCKDOWN. That moment of 2020 when everyone had to stop. With this photo, I’m sure many cyclists will be reflected by their days of being confined at home and where they spent hours and hours on their trainers. I portrait some cyclists, without moving from home, via video call, to tell them how to configure their cameras, to take the picture that I had in mind. All the photos had a common thread between them by the light that came from their screens and that illuminated their “pain cave”.’ Albert Gallego @brazodehierro

Nice one, Alberto. This is a stunning image from a phenomenal photo set.

And rounding out the podium, we have this ripper of a shot from…

Third place, professional category: Luis Alcantarilla, United Kingdom

Stunning work, Luis! A phenomenal follow up from a second place in the Amateur category last year.

“All weathers. Wales’ answer to Sa Calobra. A closed road and only one way up, it’s a short but brutal climb, featuring some of the few Switchbacks available in Britain and halting when you reach the Dam at the top. Shooting for Ribble Cycles, we were met with sun, hail, snow, wind, rain and finally an immensely atmospheric and chilly descent.” Luis Alcantarilla @eltoromediadotcom

The rest of the top 10 in the professional category, in order, are as follows:

Amateur category

The Amateur category encapsulates any photographers that don’t fit into the professional category. This category was consolidated this year from the Enthusiast and Smartphone/Action camera categories, and allows anyone shooting on an SLR, in film, on drones and on their phones to get involved.

Due to the wider catchment, this is the most hotly contested of the two categories. And this year, from a fiercely contested field, the winning image is …

First place, amateur category: Anthony Leutenegger, Switzerland.

“Everyone loves a happy ending, especially during these difficult times. My submission last year was of Marion Norbert-Riberolle in tears at the finish line of the Cyclocross World Championships as she had an untimely mechanical and lost in the final lap. In 2020 she stormed away to victory to win the U23 World Championships by a mile. Embracing her family, draped in a French flag, it was a moment of true happiness, one of hope, and this year without despair.” Anthony Leutenegger @anthonyleutenegger

Anthony’s 2019 entry, as mentioned in caption, was the inverse of the story here, and came fourth overall in the Enthusiast category.

This year, Anthony has gone a few places better. Congrats, Anthony! You’ve won a Wahoo Elemnt Roam GPS unit and a year’s subscription to the Sufferfest.

In second place on the podium is…

Second place, amateur category: Julien Payette-Tessier, Canada.

‘This is an iconic spot in Montreal city. It’s our biggest hill called Camilien Houde. I ride their almost 2 times a week on my bike with friends. I had a tone of pictures of it but during this morning ride everything was align for me. The sun, the position of my friends on their bikes etc. Important note on this one: I was climbing a 10% hill on my bike holding my Canon 5D IV and a 24-70 lens. That was a heavy setup.’ Julien Payette-Tessier @payette

Nice one, Julien. You’ve scored a Wahoo Elemnt Rival sportswatch and a year’s subscription to the Sufferfest.

And rounding out the podium is a competition regular…

Third place, amateur category: Rasmus Pellizotti, Denmark.

“Social distance in the forest.” Rasmus Pellizotti @traedekongen

Great stuff, Rasmus! You’ve won a Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor, along with a year’s subscription to the Sufferfest.

The rest of the top 10 are as follows:

Graham’s choice

Graham Watson has been involved with the awards since they first began, deliberating as a judge for the first three years of the awards. The last two years, he continues to offer his experience and insight as an honorary judge, selecting his top 10 of the amateur category.

Graham writes:

“It’s always an honour to be involved with the Mark Gunter Photo Awards.

The level of quality in the entries continues to grow, in fact the entries act as an annual gauge of how amateur photographers have increased their skills and love of photography.

A lack of racing around the world in 2020 and restricted access to fans at the major European races has seen a slightly more landscape-orientated entry in this year’s awards, and I’ve pondered long and hard over a dearth of great scenic shots.

So many locked-down cyclists have shown themselves out alone on inspirational rides, or if not actually alone then restricted to a close friend or relative.

My top ten selection emerged primarily from amongst the worlds’ forests, gravel roads, iconic passes, and deserted country lanes. As well as a few stunning race shots for those lucky enough to be there.

I’m pleased to say it was a near perfect sunset shot that attracted me the most for it represented a very challenging year.”

-graham watson

Here are the ten photos that most caught the eye of a cycling photography legend this year.

Lucas’ list

Last year, Leeanne and Mark’s son Lucas took an interest in the awards for the first time, selecting his favourite shots. This year, he’s back with another selection of his favourite images. Leeanne writes:

You might be surprised to learn that despite Lucas only being 15 months when Mark died, Lucas has a deep understanding of who Mark was and how he lived his life. I’m a super proud Mum of Lucas — he’s growing into himself as a kind and caring little human.

Last year — Lucas asked me if he could do his list. I thought it was a great idea — and so ‘Lucas’s List’ was born. This year, he is back to do it again.

There are a lot of images to look through for a 6 year old — especially when it’s school holidays and lots of other fun things to do!!! But he did it. He scoured all the images, and then cut back his list — just like the real judges do. I’m a very proud Mum, and just so happy that Lucas is part of what is his Dad’s legacy.

Thank you Lucas — for showing us your list, and for delighting us with what interests you and showing us your keen eye for some great photos.

We hope you all enjoy seeing Lucas’s choices, and they inspire you to keep going with your passion.

Lucas and LeeannE

Here are Lucas’ top three in each category:

Professional

Amateur category

There were a lot of great shots this year, so Lucas selected a full 10 images in the Professional category and could only narrow it down to 15 in the Amateur category.

To check out his full selection, see here.

Wrapping up

It’s been a challenging year, but the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards have demonstrated that even in the midst of adversity, creativity can shine.

Thank you to all entrants and readers. We hope you’ve enjoyed it – let us know in the comments below what your favourite shots were.

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