2021 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards: The judges’ shortlists – CyclingTips

“The Dutch Road Cycling nationals. The women’s peloton storming up the Col du Vam, over the grueling cobblestone section of a gradient of 15%.” Marco Loman @lomanmarco

The 2021 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards closed a few days ago.

We received hundreds of incredible submissions from around the world – truly some of the best cycling stories and images from what was another incredibly difficult year for many as the coronavirus pandemic continued.

The Awards are a showcase for the talented entrant photographers, but they have another important purpose – raising money for cancer research for Tour de Cure and the Young Cyclist Assistance grant.

Now that entries are closed, it’s over to our panel of judges — Jojo Harper, Brazo de Hierro, and James Startt — to decide who’s going to be awarded the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards.

Each of the judges have gone through the difficult task of shortlisting their top 10 images from each of the categories (Professional and Amateur). To eliminate any possibility of bias, they’re not able to see the name of each photographer.

The judges will bring these shortlists to a judging call early this week, where over several hours, they’ll deliberate on the top three in each category. Final winners will be announced soon after.

(Editor’s note: Some images will appear on multiple occasions as they made more than one judge’s shortlist.)

Jojo Harper’s Shortlist

Jojo Harper joins the Awards as a judge in 2021. Her work has been featured in the Awards since 2018. Jojo is from the south of England and like many, she lives the cycling life in Girona, Spain.

Jojo started her cycling photography career by photographing her brother racing, who was then with Rapha Condor JLT. She “loves her photos to tell a story.”

Professional Category

“The photo was taken in the bath and it is meant to represent Lotta just keeping her head above water. I had heard about the mental health stories in her life and how coming back to the world of cycling was a big deal for her. It was taken at the Ceratizit training camp. I had heard Lotta @lottahenttala had joined the team and asked if we can capture some styled portraits.” Sean Hardy @hardyccphotos
“This was taken at the wonderful Rocacorba Cycling. We were getting ready to shoot Ashleigh Moolman Pasio in her new Zwift E-Champ kit, then this gorgeous light hit.”Sean Hardy @hardyccphotos
“’A Shepherd and his flock’ – taken during the 2021 Pan Celtic Race. Mike Sheldrake replenishes his energy with breakfast after what has been a tough few days on the bike. With a full stomach, Mike begins to offer out the last remaining morsels to the local inhabitants before heading off on the rest of his journey.” Dan King @breakawaydigital
“Krystal Salvent photographed at her local trailhead in Boulder, CO in August 2021. Krystal’s warmth and enthusiasm are palpable, even at seven in the morning, days after a big race, on a Monday no less. We wasted away perfect morning light because we were so caught up in a discussion about the potential that gravel cycling has in being an accessible space for people to get into riding bikes. ‘We all start somewhere, you just have to give people the opportunity,’ she tells me.” Dominique Powers @dominiquepowers
“After the ‘Ronde van Vlaanderen’, the riders are singing as loud as they can, while ‘pater familias’ Patrick Lefevere is calmly enjoying his steak.” Wout Beel @woutbeel
“After 20 years I got to photograph a wet Paris Roubaix. Carrefour de l’Arbre was epic. How many other world-class events allow fans to get this close to their heroes?” Gareth Quinn @mightyquinnphotos
“Shot recently for Rouleur Magazine. Anna had recently retired from racing so we wanted to portray her as a woman moving into her new life after cycling. It was important to make an image that felt classical and showed a sense of movement.” Michael Blann @michaelblann
“Abu Sheik Sesay recovering in a barbershop after finishing second on the stage at the Tour de Lunsar. Escaping the crowds and the heat for a brief moment of respite. The Tour de Lunsar is Sierra Leone’s inaugural multi-stage bike race. There is no blueprint for cycling in Sierra Leone. The race is creating a platform for young riders to showcase their talents and are seen as local heroes.” Matt Grayson @mattgrayson_photo
“Abu Sheik Sesay is mobbed by fans after finishing second at the Tour de Lunsar. It is Sierra Leone’s first multi-stage bike race. There is no blueprint for cycling in Sierra Leone @lunsarcycling. The race is creating a platform for young riders to showcase their talents and are seen as local heroes.” Matt Grayson @mattgrayson_photo
“Shortly after Tom Pidcock won the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic XCO, he had a beautiful moment to celebrate his victory with his coach and trainer. This picture shows the amazing team that won.” Nobuhiko Tanabe @nobuhikotanabe

Amateur Category

“Dusty dreamy haze” An Ha @anquocha
“Autumn lights casting long shadows” An Ha @anquocha
“The idea was to create the movement of a cyclist in the studio for the campaign of Vallier kit. I have to say, it’s was one of my favorite projects to develop. A lot of technics behind that. For the geeks, these blurry images were shot at a shutter speed of 1sec with 4 strobes. This is one shot with only colors and contrast editing. The blurry and the sharp face are from the same shot straight out of the cam.” Julien Payette-Tessier @payette
“This is a shot from inside the hut on the start/finish line at Hillingdon, West London. I wanted to highlight the role of the volunteers who work to keep grassroots cycling alive and see the riders from their perspective.” Ian Wrightson @ianwrightsonphotography
“A portrait of mud-covered Raylyn Nuss at the finish of the Fayetteville World Cup cyclocross.” Gavin Gould @gvngld
“October 2021, Superprestige Gieten, the opening race of the Superprestige Cyclocross season, and when you win, you don’t feel dirty, to feel victorious and you can smile, even with your eyes. World Champion Lucinda Brand, just after her victory of the opening race of the season. Glad to be back!” Marco Loman @lomanmarco
“The final night of Fifth Street Cross in Emmaus, PA had epic rain and a 25-degree temp shift occurred during the race. The race is at night and I thought I could capture the riders as they pass by the scoring tent. I tried a shutter speed (1/160) that would enhance the raindrops but also capture the riders suffering in the moment.” Gabe Lloyd @thegabelloyd
“Weird to say, but this shot of Elisa Longo Borghini is far more powerful than the one I took of the winner Lizzie. Elisa is riding for third place of the very first Paris Roubaix Femmes ever. Look the way she smiles, because she is 3rd, but mostly because Lizzie won the race the crazy way. Forgetting about the physical pain. Look at the Trek’s staff being totally nuts about the situation. Still have goosebumps looking at this. This is crazy how cycling can bring emotions at that level.” Bastien Gason @bastiengason
“Emils Liepins after Paris Roubaix 2021” Fellusch Homann @fellusch
“This was a small adventure to the Jurassic coast, on the Chainlink ferry from Bournemouth. It was bleak and windy, and we have the boat to ourselves. I have a fascination with this ferry. I think it is beautiful and simple, and I love taking my bike on a boat.” Saskia Martin @saskiacmartin

Brazo de Hierro

Brazo de Hierro is an experienced and recognized Spanish photographer, capturing the essence of what cycling means to him.

In 2020, he showed the world of cycling through lockdown, from behind the lens, like no other. Brazo has entered the Awards every year since the beginning of 2016 and his photographs have been featured many times.

Professional Category

“Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert are fighting in the waves of the North Sea during the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Oostende, Belgium on 31st January 2021.” Michal Cerveny @michalcervenyphoto
“In May I followed my boyfriend Francesco and his teammate Federico during their race at Tuscany Trail. In the photo, we are in Monteriggioni, where to get to the town you have to overcome this very short and steep climb. Francesco stopped and started screaming for some cramps, while Federico, after passing him, continued pedaling until he reached the end.” Chiara Redaschi @chiara_redaschi
“Abu Sheik Sesay is mobbed by fans after finishing second at the Tour de Lunsar. It is Sierra Leone’s first multi-stage bike race. There is no blueprint for cycling in Sierra Leone @lunsarcycling. The race is creating a platform for young riders to showcase their talents and are seen as local heroes.” Matt Grayson @mattgrayson_photo
“Becoming a great cycling champion starts with being a great cycling fan. Future Champion.” Joris Knapen @jozza_cyclingpics
“The photo was taken in the bath and it is meant to represent Lotta just keeping her head above water. I had heard about the mental health stories in her life and how coming back to the world of cycling was a big deal for her. It was taken at the Ceratizit training camp. I had heard Lotta (@lottahenttala) had joined the team and asked if we can capture some styled portraits.” Sean Hardy @hardyccphotos
“After the start of the Zilvermeercross, it started to snow. As a result, the snow only stayed next to the racing line. What caused a beautiful leading line towards the leader of the race, Wout van Aert.” Mats Palinckx @matspalinckx
“Simac Ladies Tour, stage 4, I think this has to be one of the worst conditions I’ve ever seen on a race, if not the worst. The riders were completely covered in mud and a good high-pressure jet was the best remedy to get rid of it all.” Thomas Maheux @thomas_maheux
“’A Shepherd and his flock’ – taken during the 2021 Pan Celtic Race. Mike Sheldrake replenishes his energy with breakfast after what has been a tough few days on the bike. With a full stomach, Mike begins to offer out the last remaining morsels to the local inhabitants before heading off on the rest of his journey.” Dan King @breakawaydigital
“It’s the last cycling event I shot for this year. It was raining for several days but luckily on this day we’re blessed with sun, creating a magical atmosphere out in the woods.” Michiel Maas @maas.rides

Amateur Category

“While waiting to cross the racecourse during the USA CX Nationals Single Speed race I decided to crouch down and grab a few frames just as this rider came flying up Mt. Abus shaking what appears to be a recently acquired can of beer. Just as he crested the hill a spectator in front of me began to ring a bell that read “ring for beer,” which was just the icing on the party that is CX Single Speed Nationals.” Mitchell Vincent @mitchtigram
“The famous tunnel on the Mt. Lowe Railway Trail is always a photo opportunity, but for underdressed Angelenos on a snowy mountain, it was welcomed shelter from the wind.” Timothy R Mahoney @timothyrmahoney
“As a surf photographer with a passion for cycling and cx racing, who often shoots the surfers in Oostende close to the World Championships CX venue I could not hold myself to enter the freezing North Sea waters and try to get some images from an angle no one else could get. The idea came up when seeing the ladies race on Saturday. I knew it was a bit dodgy with all Covid measures yet I never expected this to get the (media) attention it got…” Maarten Van de Velds @mvv_photography
“As winter draws to an end, the first signs of spring appear. It’s the moment that so many keen cyclists have been waiting for: the reopening of the Alpine cols.” Maxime Vanyehe @maxime.visuals
“I took this shot during ‘Dwars door Vlaanderen 2021’. This was my second ‘official’ race I shot. As a starting cycling photography girl in a ‘men’s world’, I can be very unsure. I was so nervous at the start, so I searched for a place without other photographers. Besides that, I’m always looking for a ‘not so average shot’. So upstairs was ideal! In this shot, I love those fluo helmets and the contrast with the stairs, the hand of the girl on her teammate’s shoulder, and those straight lines.” Suzan Debuysere @suzandbsr
“Moody morning at the top of my local pass” Tom Blackschleger @tomblackschleger
“Ok, I have a confession. It was totally for the shot… I’m actually standing and taking this shot from a little bridge. But when I saw this opening I asked my friend Arnaud if he’d be willing to get his feet wet. Do it for the gram man. That said, I think there is something serein in this image.” Julien Payette-Tessier @payette
“The final night of Fifth Street Cross in Emmaus, PA had epic rain and a 25-degree temp shift occurred during the race. The race is at night and I thought I could capture the riders as they pass by the scoring tent. I tried a shutter speed (1/160) that would enhance the raindrops but also capture the riders suffering in the moment.” Gabe Lloyd @thegabelloyd
“The west bank has always been in the center of political disputes and still is, many of which escalated to violent conflicts. As a result, over the years many infrastructure projects initiated by both sides were left to decay before completion. Many of which are paved roads, most in the middle of nowhere and unconnected to any road system, requiring some unconventional paths to reach. One of the few times I was more than happy to have a puncture with a view like this.” Ronen Chernyak @ronenchernyak
“This is the end of the epic trip tour, we spent many hours in the saddle. We were completely exhausted, we were a fool. With the rest of my strength, I took this photo, driving a few meters behind my friend. I saw the end result only at home, it fully reflects that moment, fatigue, freedom, fog, road, landscape.” Maciej Grzybowski @cyclingmill

James Startt

James Startt is now in his fourth decade as a cycling photographer — he’s photographed every Tour de France since 1990.

The winner of a Gold Medal in the 2021 World Sports Photography Awards, he works regularly with Peloton Magazine, Velonews, and Agence Zoom in France. He has also authored numerous books.

Professional Category

“Abu Sheik Sesay is mobbed by fans after finishing second at the Tour de Lunsar. It is Sierra Leone’s first multi-stage bike race. There is no blueprint for cycling in Sierra Leone @lunsarcycling. The race is creating a platform for young riders to showcase their talents and are seen as local heroes.” Matt Grayson @mattgrayson_photo
“The photo was taken in the bath and it is meant to represent Lotta just keeping her head above water. I had heard about the mental health stories in her life and how coming back to the world of cycling was a big deal for her. It was taken at the Ceratizit training camp. I had heard Lotta @lottahenttala had joined the team and asked if we can capture some styled portraits.” Sean Hardy @hardyccphotos
“Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates descends from Mont Ventoux.” Alex Broadway @_alexbroadway_
“Alex Dowsett working on his aerodynamic position in preparation for his hour record attempt at the wind tunnel in Silverstone.” Alex Duffill @alexduffill
“Tadej Pogačar, probably one of the most precocious talents cycling has ever seen, double Tour de France winner at the age of 22. I love his attacking style and his never-say-die attitude. Tour de France Stage 8, one of those days that logistics dictated that it would only be possible to see the riders once, so choosing your location was critical. Id visited the Col de la Colombière, during the 2020 edition of the Criterium du Dauphine and knew to get a clean shot the decent was the place to be.” Chris Auld @cauldphoto
“I know it’s a commercial shot, but I chose to enter with a shot within this series because it was such a fun and creative thing to do and I love the whole series. It also defines the person on the picture (Remco Evenepoel).” Wout Beel @woutbeel
“During the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Canazei and finishes on the Sega di Ala climb, the teammate, compatriot, and wingman Daniel Felipe Martinez motivates and supports his captain and general classification leader Egan Bernal in a moment of crisis during the ascent of the final climb. With his valuable support and work, Egan Bernal managed to remain leader of the race and wear the pink jersey. Bernal would win the 104th edition of the Giro d’Italia a few days later in Milan” Luca Bettini @lucabettini87
“This one shows the determination of Alexander Kristof and his DS Alan Piper to get back in the race. This was taken with only 10KMs to go in this year’s Paris Roubaix. The bottle was gratefully received!!!” Gary Main @garymainphotographer
“Wout van Aert of Belgium leads the pack during the Elite Men’s Race at the 2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Ostend, Belgium.” Alex Whitehead @alex_swpix

Amateur Category

“This was the second and final crit race at Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition. The race was dubbed The Roller Coaster Crit, so I wanted to try and capture that with the park’s rides in the background as the rider came through the corner.” Filip Funk @filipfunk
“Dusty dreamy haze” An Ha @anquocha
“As a surf photographer with a passion for cycling and cx racing, who often shoots the surfers in Oostende close to the World Championships CX venue I could not hold myself to enter the freezing North Sea waters and try to get some images from an angle no one else could get. The idea came up when seeing the ladies race on Saturday. I knew it was a bit dodgy with all Covid measures yet I never expected this to get the (media) attention it got…” Maarten Van de Velds @mvv_photography
“Endless roads…. Exploring gravel roads of Odesa region (south part of Ukraine) during Budziak Gravel camp – organized by local cycling club Hoods and Drops. Unknown destinations, unexpected paths: all in all, life is a journey.” Iurii Makalis @makalisiurii
“Chris Simpson traverses the infamous boardwalks of Llandegla Moors in North Wales during this year’s GBDuro. The boards are notoriously difficult to ride with ruts pulling wheels left and right making for a twitchy crossing, and paired with treacherous conditions and low lying cloud it was as tough as ever. Currently being replaced by large stone slabs this tricky crossing of the moors would be one of the last for the challenging race” Toby Willis @tobychillis
“And last but not least, Woutje, just after he won the Belgian National Road Race Championships (2021). Tired, but smiling. What a tremendous season! Thanks, Wout!” Suzan Debuysere @suzandbsr
“June 2021 – The Dutch Road Cycling nationals – the women’s peloton storming up the Col du Vam, over the grueling cobblestone section of a gradient of 15%.” Marco Loman @lomanmarco
“The end of May usually marks the start of the summer cycling season and the opening of the Alpine “Grand Cols”. Once again, Sébastien Jarrot sights firmly set on climbing that most majestic of northern Alpine cols – the Galibier, all 2,642 meters of it. Despite the heavy snowfalls over the winter, he had high hopes of reaching the summit of this mythical climb out from the Maurienne Valley.” Maxime Vanyehe @maxime.visuals
“I’m the official photographer for the Fred Whitton Challenge sportive. This is my favorite spot to capture the agony and sometimes the ecstasy of the competing riders. The Hardknott Pass is one of the steepest roads in England with a gradient of 33%, the riders approach this with nearly 100 miles in their legs. This year we had all four seasons on the climb over a 5-hour period.” Steve Flemming @stevefleming1
“Color film photo. I like to think of this as the essence of summer as the rider completes a wwallrideon a clown bike over a can of beer. Good times had by all.” Carl Sechrist @csechrist1

What are your favorite shots? Keep an eye open for the announcement of the winners early this week!

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