UAE Team Emirates directeur sportif Allan Peiper has won the manager/DS of the year award at the Kristallen Fiets (Crystal Bicycle) awards in Belgium.
Peiper helped guide Tadej Pogačar to a dramatic Tour de France victory this season, which was enough for Het Laatste Nieuws readers to vote for him over Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere, who won the award from 2017 to 2019.
Peiper, who was born in Australia but took Belgian nationality several years ago, received 672 votes to Lefevere’s 572, while Alpecin-Fenix’s Christoph Roodhoft was third on 486 votes.
“After the birth of my son, [the Tour win] is the most important event in my life,” Peiper told Het Laatste Nieuws. “I had a huge responsibility but at the same time we had nothing to lose. I’m very grateful for it.
“I didn’t expect this award. It’s a great honour to receive this recognition in Belgium, a cycling country par excellence. This is the pinnacle of my career.”
Peiper moved to Belgium as a 16-year-old back in 1977, turning pro six years later at Peugeot before racing for Panasonic and Tulip Computers during a 10-year pro career winning a stage of the Giro d’Italia along the way.
He moved to the team car in the 2000s, working for Lotto, T-Mobile, Garmin and BMC before joining UAE Team Emirates for 2019, beating cancer that summer and returning to work for the 2020 season.
In addition to Peiper’s win, there was further cause for celebration for UAE Team Emirates as Pogačar won Slovenia’s road cyclist of the year award. The 22-year-old, who this year won the Tour plus three stages, the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and the Slovenian time trial title, shared the award with Vuelta a España and Liège-Bastogne-Liège champion and Tour runner-up, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
“The Tour came where we both raced excellently,” said Pogačar at the virtual ceremony. “It was an unforgettable season.
“I am really honoured that together with Primož we both receive this award. For several years I have been following the desire to win this award, for which I’m really happy now.”
Pogačar added that he’s started training for 2021, with a Tour defence top among his goals for the upcoming season alongside participation at the delayed Tokyo Olympics.
“Now we have really started training. We are starting preparations in the United Arab Emirates and the Sierra Nevada in Spain. The UAE Tour is waiting for me, then everything will revolve around the Tour de France.
“We have four riders for the Olympics, I hope to be among them, I probably will. If I drive the Tour well, I can also be solid at the Olympics.”
The Kristallen Fiets awards continue through the week, with two awards left to go – the best female rider and the Crystal Bicycle for the top pro of the season.