It may be that we may have finally put the ghosts of the past behind us in 2013. Lance Armstrong and his ilk are all but consigned to history and are increasingly irrelevant to what will happen in cycling as we look forward.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

Of course we're sure to get a reminder with the coming Independent Commission but none of it should be relevant to a sport desperate to embrace change in a positive way.

This will happen despite the ongoing commentary of a few dead-enders on Twitter and elsewhere who continue to cling to past hurts (you know who you are), seemingly determined to suck the life out of cycling as a sport. The angst brought on by doping and dysfunctional governance should pass.

The new International Cycling Union (UCI) President Brian Cookson is cleaning house, restructuring the world governing body with a fresh approach to the issues affecting the growth of cycling worldwide.

That's not to say cycling as a sport isn't growing. Far from it, but it has been haphazard and disjointed. A disorganised one step forward, two back. There is leadership but most of it is of the 'what's in it for me' variety, which suggests a lack of trust.

My view is that the rebuilding of trust is Cookson's first job, and so far he's gone about it in exactly the right way. He appears to involve stakeholders with respect, not the threatening bluster of the past occupant of Aigle.



But forget about the politics, it's still all about the bike. It's why we keep our eyes glued to the screen at crazy hours of the night and early morning through the season. We like riding bikes and watching people who ride bikes better than we do.

Yes, 2014 should be very different. But what will it bring?

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1. Chris Froome will win the Tour de France: Barring injury or illness of course. Look at this possible lineup riding alongside Froome for the Tour and tell me there is any other team with this kind of depth. Sergio Henao, Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, Mikel Nieve, Richie Porte, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins.

All but Wiggins appear locked in for July. The 2012 winner seems to have resigned himself to a final season at the team and a single Tour victory to his glittering career-long palmares. If he rides in full support of Froome then it's a done deal.

2. Mark Cavendish will dominate the sprints: Sure, Cav is facing some serious competition from Marcel Kittel and a host of young guns but his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team has done much to bolster his leadout train, particularly with the acquisition of former HTC-Highroad wingman Mark Renshaw to pilot him through the final difficult metres of a sprint.

3. Marianne Vos. Marianne Vos, Marianne Vos, and Giorgia Bronzini: There isn't much to say about the best women's cyclist on the planet. With her all-round ability she is lifting the profile of the distaff side of the sport to new heights. With women's cycling finally on the radar of the UCI, Vos is like a dream come true, a prolific winner on which to hitch a growth spurt.

This is not to say Vos is the only game in town, there is growing depth in the ranks of the peloton and Giorgia Bronzini is to women's cycling what Mark Cavendish is to the men's. With technical changes in the wings and a restructured World Cup, this season is set to be the best ever for the women.

4. The rebirth of MTB is Australia: There was a moment in the 1990's when Australia was on its way to doing in mountain biking what it has done on the road. But fate (read money and poor decision making) conspired to push it to the sidelines for over a decade. Now it's back.

Like it did in 1996, the UCI World Cup in Cairns will again bring international mountain biking to our shores, spurring a wider interest in this country. It's true that domestically the sport is still suffering from financial and political issues, but just as the Santos Tour Down Under serves to bring professional road cycling to a wider audience it's hoped the World Cup will do the same for MTB.

5. The growth of cyclo-cross: This discipline has been in the shadows of road cycling for too long, consigned to its Northern European cubby hole. But it's now poised to be a true spectacle deserving of its place in cycling's growing menu of elite disciplines.

Cyclo-cross has traversed the oceans and is now an American staple. Even Australia has fallen under its spell with the sport planting its seeds in seemingly fertile ground, with a budding national series and representation at the world championships. There is even talk of making it an Olympic event (Winter).

What do you expect to see happen in the world of cycling in 2014?