Yellow patch: Orica-GreenEDGE rider Simon Gerrans wears the leader's jersey for a second day in the Tour de France earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images
*Simon Gerrans. The Orica-GreenEDGE rider enjoyed perhaps his best season despite a fractured pelvis ending his Vuelta a Espana campaign. In the Tour de France, he won stage three and in the stage four team time trial and spent two days in the yellow leader's jersey. He also won a stage at the Tour Down Under, Volta a Catalunya, and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and placed third in the Amstel Gold Race and 10th in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Tough times: Cadel Evans during the Tour de France where he finished 39th overall. His success in the Giro d'Italia means he is likely to prioritise the Italian race next season. Photo: AP
*Orica-GreenEDGE. Enjoyed a Tour that included two stage wins, four days with the yellow jersey (Gerrans and South African Daryl Impey), and a full three-week presence highlighted by Swiss Michael Albasini's second on stage 14 and Australian Cameron Meyer's ninth on stage 16. The team's second place at 0.08secs in the world team time trial title in September confirmed they are among the world's best.
*Richie Porte (Sky) for his overall win in Paris-Nice, including wins in the mountain stage and time trial. That set him up for a huge year including second place overall in the Criterium International, Vuelta al Pais Vasco and Criterium du Dauphine. Also rode superbly to help Briton Chris Froome win the Tour de France. Both later rode for the Sky team that won bronze in the team time trial at the recent world road titles.
*Cadel Evans (BMC), at 36, placed third overall in a Giro d'Italia made harder by the cold, wet conditions and the fact he did it off the back of a short six-week preparation. By placing third Evans, who became the first Australian Tour de France winner in 2011 and in 2009 the men's elite world road champion, also became the first Australian to finish on the podium in Italy. He is likely to make the Giro his priority next year, rather than race in the Tour.
*Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) had a great rookie season with ninth in the Tour de Romandie time trial, third in the Tour of California time trial, second in the Criterium du Dauphine time trial, where he finished eighth overall and spent one day in the yellow jersey. Started Tour de France, but stopped after stage eight due toa calf injury. Later won one stage and overall honours in Tour of Alberta and raced world titles in team and individual time trials and road race.
Special mentions: Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE), two stage wins in Vuelta a Espana; Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE), seventh at world road race titles; Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), won Giro stage seven; Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE), sixth on Giro stage eight time trial; Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE), stage one time trial win in Tour de Suisse; Caleb Ewan (Australia), fourth in under-23 world title road race plus seven wins, Damien Howson (Australia), first in under-23 time trial at the world, Oceania and national titles, and second in Chrono Champenois, Olympia's Tour and Thuringen-Rundfahrt time trials. Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp), 5th overall, two days in yellow leader's jersey and best young rider in US ProCycling Challenge; first stage three, two days in yellow jersey and best young rider in Tour of Utah.
*Stuart O'Grady (Orica-GreenEDGE). Confessed to doping before the 1998 Tour de France three days after this year's Tour finished. On the same day, he was also named in a French senate inquiry into doping. Adding to the disappointment was that O'Grady's confession also came two days after he announced his retirement, saying the decision was for family reasons.
*Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) won stage two in Tirreno-Adriatico in a top field but is yet to win another race. Best results since are second in stage four of Tour de Suisse and third in stage six of the Giro. His lack of success has been a point of discussion all year.
*Evans experienced his worst Tour de France finish (39th). It was a tough time for Evans, who knew his hopes were dashed as early as stage eight in the Pyrenees, on the final climb. It became harder when, in the third week, he let go of his top-10 chances.
*Porte saw the hope of a top three overall place in the Tour disappear the day after a super second place to Froome on stage eight in the Pyrenees. On stage nine to Bagneres de Bigorre, he lost 18 minutes to fall from second overall to 33rd. He still finished 19th.
*Crashes that ruined Australia's men's elite world road title hopes. For Gerrans who was unavailable due to his fractured pelvis in the Vuelta a Espana, Porte who fell early in the race and lost too much time, and Evans and David Tanner (Belkin) who fell heavily on the second 10 finishing circuits.