Twenty Highlights from the 2013 Cycling Season

17. The Rise of Jan Bakelants and Michal Kwiatkowski

What do Jan Bakelants and Michal Kwiatkowski have in common? Not much, other than the fact they were both relatively unknown riders coming into the 2013 season and they both finish the season as arguably the most improved riders in the peloton.

Kwiatkowski seemed to be everywhere during the Spring Classics, getting in the right moves, pulling for his teammates and even picking up fourth place in the Amstel Gold Race and fifth in Fleche Wallonne.

In the Tour de France the Polish national road race champion was equally impressive, forming a vital part of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep train and picking up seven top-10 results in the 21-stage race.

Jan Bakelants, meanwhile, forced us to pay attention when he took a stunning victory on stage 2 of the Tour de France. He wore the yellow jersey for two stages as a reward and was seemingly in a breakaway everyday for the rest of the race. He finished third on the mountainous stage 19.

For the rest of the year Bakelants continued to animate races and he won the Grand Prix de Wallonie after outfoxing Thomas Voeckler in the closing kilometre.

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