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2018 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards: winners announced

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For the third year running, we’ve been privileged to receive so many amazing entries in the 2018 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards. In total, we received just under one thousand images from photographers in 32 countries, across four categories, including our new category Proud Cycling Moment. The competition ramped up significantly in its closing days, with a flurry of hundreds of images in the final week.

The aim of the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards is to highlight outstanding photography, but also to raise funds for worthy causes and to celebrate the life and work of Mark Gunter, a much loved and deeply missed Australian cycling photographer who tragically lost his life to cancer in late 2015. The awards are in large part a labour of love from his wife Leeanne Gatien, who works tirelessly on this competition every year to ensure Mark’s legacy lives on. Thank you, Leeanne!

Our judges this year – cycling photography legend Graham Watson, 2016 Professional category-winner Wouter Roosenboom, and UK-based pro photographer Russ Ellis – had an incredibly daunting task to determine the winners amongst a field of such high quality work. The judging process required the judges to assess the merits of each of the hundreds of images, select a shortlist of ten – without knowing who the photographer was to ensure there was no bias – before a conference call of over three hours where the judges went in to fight for their favourites. The final standings you see here are without exception the result of significant reflection and deliberation.

This year, with such a high standard of images, we’ve decided to showcase 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.

Finally, a massive thank you to all entrants and donors – you’ve helped raise over $6,000 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.

Professional

The Professional category carries significant prestige, and unsurprisingly, attracted an incredibly high quality of entries. The judges had the hardest time settling on the final order of this category, agonising over every place before finally arriving at this decision.

10.

Natalie Starr @natalierstarr: “My good friend builds his own bikes. Him and his friends take them anywhere, there is no limits. They ride these “gravel” bikes like mountain bikes and it’s amazing to see what they clear on them.”

9.

Kristof Ramon @kramon_velophoto: “Sjoerd van Ginneken (NED) smoked out on top of the infamous Kapelmuur/Muur van Geraardsbergen during the 2018 Ronde Van Vlaanderen.”

8.

Dan Monaghan @cadence_images: “3 Peaks Cyclocross, UK – This has to be one of the toughest CX races going. The landscape and terrain make for some outstanding views and the parcours makes for an unbelievable race.

7.

Alex Whitehead @alex_swpix: “Alena Amialiusik, Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Elena Cecchini, Lisa Klein and Trixi Worrack of Canyon-SRAM on their way to winning the Women’s Team Time Trial at the 2018 UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria.”

6.

Simon Wilkinson @swpix_cycling: “Alena Amialiusik, Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Elena Cecchini, Lisa Klein and Trixi Worrack celebrate winning the Women’s Team Time Trial at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria.”

5.

Eloise Mavian @eloisemavian: “Christopher Froome climbing the Colle delle Finestre during his epic breakaway on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia.”

4.

Kristof Ramon @kramon_velophoto: “As a former race winner, John Degenkolb finds his personal cube in the famous showers and allows for the race (effort/emotions) to sink in after finishing (Paris-Roubaix 2018).”

Third place: This stunning image from US/France-based James Startt captured the attention of the judges, with Russ commenting on its ‘brilliant composition’. Graham remarked on the near perfection of its dimensions and its sense of scale.

James Startt @jstartt: “Quite often the Paris-Nice race is decided on the final week-end, but this year my favorite shot came from one of the opening stages as the peloton rolled across the plains of northern France. As we came across this field of wind turbines, I stopped and waited for what seemed like hours. I expected to see the peloton strung out, racing by. Instead when the pack arrived, they were clearly in a down moment. But as the peloton inched towards the turbines they formed a perfect composition.”

Second place: French photographer Pauline Ballet’s powerful shot from the Arctic Race of Norway made it into second place after significant discussion. The image was well-regarded by all the judges, who provided context around the photographer’s speed at capturing this from the back of a moto.

Pauline Ballet @paulineballet: “Under the rainbow. Arctic Race of Norway 2018, Stage 3. This picture can be summarize in the first sentence I pronounced after taking off my motorbike helmet at the end of the stage: ‘Well, it will take me some time to recover from this stage’.”

First place: The winner of this year’s Professional category was this shot by Italian photographer Dario Belingheri, which impressed the judges with its composition and forethought; where other photographers at the race would have been down in the crowd getting a standard roll-out shot, Belingheri would have scouted this location ahead of time to get the vantage point, producing something far more impressive.

To the judges, this captured the essence of Italian racing – the passion, the landscape, the architecture. As Graham put it, “we are choosing the best cycling photo of 2018, and it’s one image that brings all the elements into a single shot. Had I been there, I would have been jealous seeing Dario’s picture. Fantastic.”

Dario Belingheri @dariobelingheri: “Huge crowd in Catania, the “snake” running through the streets of the city invaded by the crowd, under the Volcano Etna, during the start of the 4th stage of the Giro d’Italia 2018.”

Enthusiast

The Enthusiast category was the most hotly contested again this year, with the standard again rising to the point that Graham Watson remarked that it was difficult at times to pick a difference in quality between the professional and enthusiast categories.

10.

Emanuele Barbaro @emanuele__barbaro “4- Three different lines captured from the window during the Last laps of the Red Hook Criterium. Milano, final stage, 06/10/2018.”

9.

Mats Palinckx @matspalinckx “During the six days of Ghent the changing is key at the 500m sprint. The speed is high, so it’s very difficult to get it right. With a slow shutter speed I tried to capture the speed and the difficulty.”

8.

Tyler Haab @carbonstattkondition: “@Szymonbike on the Grosse-Scheidegg in the Swissalps (Canon)”

7.

Reid Neureiter @reidnewphoto: “The break has a half mile lead on the peloton. this image was taken in mid-summer during the practice races at the Colorado State Patrol training track on South Table Mesa in Golden, Colorado. The track is not entirely flat, allowing me to capture the three break-away riders in sharp focus the foreground, with the chasing bunch in the background.”

6.

David Gillam @djgillam: “Admission is free and the views are primo at the Gastown Grand Prix in Vancouver BC.”

5.

Zac Williams @z_w_photography: “Sometimes just finishing is all that matters.”

4.

Anthony Leutenegger @anthonyleutenegger: “Wout van Aert, wearing the world championship jersey, powers through the muck and mud of of the Grand Prix Nommay on a cold day in France.”

Third place: Some images entered into the awards were happy accidents, while others showed a degree of planning and forethought. Wilco Dragt’s entry was clearly one of the latter – “he went looking for the shot”, said Graham – which the colours of LottoNL-Jumbo tie into beautifully.

Wilco Dragt @wilcodragtphotography: “Team LottoNl-Jumbo chasing a leader group in the Dutch semi-classic Veenendaal-Veenendaal 2018. They succeeded in bringing their world-class sprinter Dylan Groenewegen to the front, who rewarded them with winning the race”

Second place: UK photographer Jordan Benjamin-Sutton’s shot from the Giro was a striking submission, remarked on and admired by our judges for its sharpness and scale. As Wouter succinctly put it, “the photographer did something special”.

Jordan Benjamin-Sutton @peloton_perspective: “The peloton passes the Colosseum on Stage 21 of this years Giro d’Italia.”

First place: Jordan Benjamin-Sutton’s triumphant run in this year’s award continues with a first place to go along with the previous image (note that the images were judged blind, so there was no bias related to the fact that this was the same photographer). This dramatic image is similar to one of professional photographer Kristof Ramon’s more renowned shots of the year, but both Wouter and Russ found much to love in Jordan’s photo thanks to its tighter cropping and greater emotion. It’s a deserving winner of the Enthusiast category and a stunning shot.

Jordan Benjamin-Sutton @peloton_perspective: “Wout Van Aert collapses after crossing the finish line at this years Strade Bianche.”

Smartphone/Action Cam

This category has developed the most over the years of the competition, in part because of the technological advances in this medium. Smartphones are capable of capturing remarkable shots, now more than ever, while drones and action cams have opened up a world of possibility for fresh and dynamic perspectives.

10.

Matt Fee @mattfee: “Sunrise miles in The Netherlands.”

9.

David Willsher @thegoldcoastcyclist: ”Bike and beach.”

8.

Emily Alexander @eealxndr: “Reflection”

7.

David Fussell @d.fussell: “Sunrise above the clouds – Banks Peninsula, Christchurch, New Zealand.”

6.

Wouter Hoogenboom @bicycle.racing.pictures: “Jumping over the barriers at Rainey Park Cyclocross, Astoria, New York.”

5.

Daniel Mai @sailinbum: “Easy does it.”

4.

Graeme Langhorne @graemelanghorne: “”G riding into Yellow’ Time trialling up a mountain with a stage winner on your wheel. La Rosiere. 1330 Tour de France Week. July.”

Third place: John Braynard submitted a number of stunning drone shots into the competition this year, but this is arguably the best of the lot.

John Braynard @jbraynard: ”That time of year where the clouds hang in the valley all morning. It’s great to get above it and think about all the people having cloudy miserable days down below while you soak up the rays :).”

Second place: Clever composition from Pete Canny, capturing the thrust and intensity of criterium racing with an interesting perspective.

Pete Canny @_elcamino: “Pinning on a number. It’s always to good to finish a race in wet conditions upright. Despite the rain stopping before this race around Latrobe Uni there were still wet roads, slippery painted lines and fire engines responding to a fire to contend with. All whilst trying to be first over the line.”

First place: The light, movement and unique perspective of Wouter Hoogenboom’s shot made it a favourite of the judges. In their words: “it’s amazing what a good photographer can do with an action camera.”

Wouter Hoogenboom @bicycle.racing.pictures: “Painting with city lights. Bronx, New York.”

Proud Cycling Moment

New for 2018, the Proud Cycling Moment category was introduced to encourage entrants to share the inspiring stories behind the shot.

10.

Wouter Hoogenboom @bicycle.racing.pictures: “Peter is a USA Cycling Coach, Co-executive Director of the Star Track Youth Program, and proud cycling dad of Billy, an aspiring junior racer. You will find Peter roadside and trackside at races all over the country and abroad supporting riders in whatever weather Mother Nature brings. This photo – taken in subzero temperatures moments before the start of a local New York City Crit – perfectly illustrates this.”

9.

Nicolas Abad @nicoabad: “September rainy morning didn’t stop beginners from competing.”

8.

Wouter Hoogenboom @bicycle.racing.pictures: “Balancing cycling with a busy family life is a challenge that many people can relate to. After Luiz’ daughter Mia was born, it wasn’t easy for him to stick to a structured training program. But that was exactly what he did and not without success: He went on to win the New York State Criterium Championship! However, the best part of this story is that Luiz got to celebrate this highlight with his daughter – a dream come true!”

7.

Alexander Law @alex_law_photo: Part two; “In August 2012 my Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and although it was discovered quickly, it had spread to 5 of his internal organs and required an intensive 12 hour operation to remove the disease.It has always been his dream to compete for his country so we persuaded him to compete in the UCI amateur Time Trial Championship, the winners of which would qualify for Team GB.I had the privilege of following my Dad’s journey and am very proud to say he is now a Team GB athlete.”

6.

Katie Busick @katiebusickphotography: “”Biggest Fan’ Ellen Noble’s grandmother tries to go to as many of her races as possible. You can see her posting up on the sidelines as Ellen takes the win at the Exeter Classic.”

5.

Lukáš Ronald Lukács @lucassaganronald: “I’m suffering the GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) for more than 2 years. I’m always so nervous and I’m losing energy so faster than before. Because of this, I had to stop studying and I’m at home now. But for some seconds I don’t feel this. When I got at the top of my dream mountain after more than hour and it took 2 times longer than before, I just lift my bicycle with the last remaining energy and I felt the freedom again. So this is my proud cycling moment, when I defetead myself.”

4.

Craig Huffman @craigsclicks: “I Never Gave Up…” – Just 166 days after a horrific cycling accident: 25 broken bones, serious internal injuries, 10 days in a Trauma Center and the long road of rehabilitation, an emotional Annette Williams (USA) embraces her husband Kenny following her Gold Medal performance during the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships, Women 55+ Scratch Race Final at the Velo Sports Center in Carson, California, USA on October 9, 2018.”

Third place: Wouter Hoogenboom backs up his win in the Smartphone/Action Cam category with this black and white portrait in Proud Cycling Moment.

Wouter Hoogenboom @bicycle.racing.pictures: “Once a cyclist, always a cyclist. This spectator came out with his cycling friends to proudly support and watch the races at a local criterium event in Harlem, New York City.”

Second place: In the words of the judges, “a powerful and unique image, and a great story.”

Alexander Law @alex_law_photo: Part one; “In August 2012 my Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and although it was discovered quickly, it had spread to 5 of his internal organs and required an intensive 12 hour operation to remove the disease.It has always been his dream to compete for his country so we persuaded him to compete in the UCI amateur Time Trial Championship, the winners of which would qualify for Team GB.I had the privilege of following my Dad’s journey and am very proud to say he is now a Team GB athlete.”

First place: For the Proud Cycling Moment, the judges found this “emotionally charged” image impossible to go past: there is pride radiating off the faces of everyone in the shot. Although taken from the rear, the judges remarked that regardless, you “almost feel the expression on her face” and deemed this the deserving winner.

Sergio Ros de Mora @rosdemora: “This picture may just seem a bunch of people cheering a woman up while cycling. But it’s not that simple, the cyclist is Olga and was detected a breast cancer back in 2015. Since she was under a genetic testing she was diagnosed at an early stage and overcame it. Nowadays she is capable of doing sports again and able to face a challenge such as a time trial. What’s more, the woman in black standing on the left is her current genetics oncologist and the reason she seems deeply moved and proud of.”

People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice award is publicly voted in a Facebook gallery. All shortlisted entrants in the Enthusiast, Smartphone/Action Cam and Proud Cycling Moment categories were eligible for the award, with the winner being the photo with the most votes. The winner this year is Mats Palincx. Congratulations, Mats!

Mats Palinckx @matspalinckx “During the six days of Ghent the changing is key at the 500m sprint. The speed is high, so it’s very difficult to get it right. With a slow shutter speed I tried to capture the speed and the difficulty.”

Thanks again to all entrants – it’s been a joy to see your beautiful, inspirational photography come through over the past month.

What were your highlights this year? Let us know in the comments. 



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