During a ceremonious evening on Tuesday, Jasper Philipsen and Lotte Kopecky were distinguished with the titles of Flandrien and Flandrienne of the Year, respectively. This annual accolade, which celebrates the best of Belgian cycling, was supplemented by other awards, among which Mathieu van der Poel received the International Flandrien honour, identifying him as the standout international cyclist of the season.
Philipsen, who rides for Alpecin-Deceuninck, claimed his victory in the Flandrien of the Year category, triumphing over Remco Evenepoel and Arnaud De Lie. His impressive tally of 19 victories throughout the international cycling season was bolstered by his achievements in the recent Tour de France where he secured four stage victories and brought home the green points jersey. His capabilities were not just confined to stage races as he also excelled on the classic circuit, winning the Classic Brugge-De Panne and Scheldeprijs, and finishing as a close runner-up in Paris-Roubaix. This constituted Philipsen’s first occasion to accept the Flandrien of the Year trophy, an accolade which had previously been awarded to Evenepoel the year before.
Kopecky’s season has been described as nothing short of outstanding, as she was the clear favourite in the female category. The 27-year-old’s season was punctuated with high-profile victories, including Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Tour of Flanders. Moreover, she achieved a remarkable second place in the Tour de France Femmes. Capping her season with the road world championship title, Kopecky also claimed two gold medals at the Track Cycling World Championships and one at the European Championships. For these stellar performances, she was further rewarded with the Grote Prijs Patrick Sercu.
Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel’s extraordinary season was acknowledged on an international scale. Although he narrowly missed out on the Velo d’Or, which was conferred to Jonas Vingegaard, van der Poel was still celebrated as the best international rider. His season’s highlights included winning the Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix, as well as clinching the world titles in both cyclo-cross and road racing.
Nathan Van Hooydonck was voted the Ploegmaat of the Year, a recognition grounded in both his sporting spirit and unfortunate departure from professional cycling due to a heart condition. The youth categories heralded Thibaut Van Damme (newcomers), Fleur Moors (juniors), and Alec Segaert (under-23s) as winners.
The evening also paid homage to Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet, both of whom have stepped away from their professional road cycling careers. They were each honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award, a testament to their enduring impact on the sport of cycling.