Athlete of the Year - Martin Maes
Martin Maes takes the Athlete of the Year crown. Pitted against a tough crowd made up from names destined to dominate the future of this sport along with him – Vali Höll and Amaury Pierron, as well as the already established Cecile Ravanel. The Belgian takes the award simply down to his unexpected, dual-discipline performance, and his ability to overcome injury and return to the front of the pack.
Maes' name has been floating around for a while, but 2018 was insane for the young Belgian. 2nd at the EWS opener, followed by a dislocated shoulder at round two. 3rd place in France, three more 2nd places and a win in Whistler. The Colombian collarbone and the Finale fracture prevented him from a series win that was easily within his reach. This alone would have been enough to put him in the running for Athlete of the Year, but the surprise UCI Downhill World Cup win in La Bresse, and the second place shortly after at Lenzerheide World Championships were nothing short of a-Maes-ing.
Pinkbike's 2018 Athlete of the Year winner is the deserving Martin Maes, a youngster who is simply warming up.