2020 Pinkbike Awards: Athlete of the Year Winner

Dec 31, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

Athlete of the Year Winner

In a COVID-hit year, athletes had fewer chances than ever to show their pace this year. They also had to adapt to constantly shifting sands as the global situation evolved day by day. No more could athletes rely on their well-honed routines instead it was about adapting, sometimes on the fly, to alien conditions. In the end, the entire racing season was over in a matter of weeks as a flurry of races came and went in quick succession in the fall.

While we were impressed with all the riders who conquered more than just their competitors this year, the 2020 Athlete of the Year award goes to...

Why she's the winner

For Marine Cabirou, it was a case of when, not if, she would win the women's overall World Cup title. She lost it on the last run of the last race year but this year she staked her claim on that jersey from the get-go.

Tough break for Marine Cabirou. She was starring down a two for two here in Maribor green on both first splits. Late race run mistakes cost her the big win.

Impressive splits from Cabirou who seemed to be getting faster as her run wore on.

After already battling off a pre-season injury and a bout of COVID, Cabirou took the win in Maribor out of the gate and kept that form rolling until the end of the year. She finished the season with two wins and finished second in the races she didn't win, which led to her taking the overall title by 50 points.

During her 2019 breakout performances, there could have been questions about the strength of the field with Myriam Nicole, Tahnee Seagrave and Rachel Atherton out with injury but surely they could now be dismissed. Cabirou faced down those established champions while also battling off the younger up-and-comers such as Hoffmann, Balanche and Farina, and truly earned her title as champion. In one of the strongest women's fields in years and with the added pressure of a truncated season, Cabirou was the class of the field and earns her title as Athlete of the Year.



Author Info:
jamessmurthwaite avatar

Member since Nov 14, 2018
1,770 articles

  • 85 0
 Very well deserved. Consistency in this weird a f year wasn’t easy to come by, and she demonstrated why she deserves to win. All while studying too, bravo!
  • 16 0
 BravA Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Much much moucho mérité!!!
  • 15 0
 I wholeheartedly agree with this result, well done Marine
  • 13 0
 I think this will be a popular choice. Well done Marine!
  • 14 2
 Morgane Charre honourable second for being awesome but also putting flat pedals back on the map in the absence of Mr Hill
  • 9 0
 Deserved, step by step she's crept up to this level.

Although I'm not sure Balanche or Farina are "young up an comers", they are both 5 years older than Seagrave for example.
  • 3 0
 There was definitely a sense of inevitability about Marine winning the overall title and her success is deserved. You can’t help but admire how this young woman rides and races, full commitment, near as dammit all or nothing, making her one of the most racers out there.
She could become a dominant force.
  • 6 0
 It's not only about the wins but also how she rides! what a commitment!
  • 5 0
 We'll deserved!
  • 4 0
 Very strong but above all has a beautiful driving style!
  • 7 7
 Too me the athlete of the year is Brook MacDonald. After suffering that horrible crash and evac, his determination and incredible hard work to get back has been nothing short of amazing. His comeback is a bigger achievement than any win in my book.
  • 11 0
 It's almost like there's a specific comeback of the year category specifically for that?
  • 2 0
 Totally deserved, great performance this year. I also love the fact that instead of redbull or monster, her hat says "monkey sauce"... so good
  • 3 0
 great pick well done Marine good luck for the coming season
  • 3 1
 Pauline Ferrand Prevot, PERIOD!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Man am I pumped for both Men and Women World Cups this year. And back to Snowshoe for us US East Coasters. Glorious!!!
  • 1 0
 She's been grinding her way to the top. Much respect.
  • 4 4
 Well deserved winner but I’d have also given a nod to Brook for his journey
  • 1 0
 Excited to see what the future brings for Marine.
  • 1 0
 Well done, Marine. A well deserved award!
  • 1 0
 doesn't she like to shoot ppl in the face with her champagne corks tho?
  • 1 0
 Cocorico Smile
  • 1 0
  • 1 3
  • 1 0
 Agreed! Clearly the top performer of the year, in my opinion.
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