Deceuninck-QuickStep domestique Tim Declercq has won Het Laatste Nieuws‘ Crystal Sweat Drop award, part of the Kristallen Fiets (Crystal Bicycle) week, as the Belgian peloton’s best domestique in 2020.
The 31-year-old retains the title he earned in 2018 and 2019, when readers also voted for him to win the award. During the season he was a fixture at the front of the peloton and a key rider for the Belgian powerhouse squad as they won three stages of the Tour de France, including two sprint wins and the green jersey from Sam Bennett.
Declercq beat teammate Dries Devenyns to win the award, taking 7,198 votes to 6,598. Jonas Rickaert of Alpecin-Fenix finished a distant third place on 1,122 points.
Declercq, who was nicknamed ‘El Tractor’ by Argentine commentators after his first race with Deceuninck-QuickStep, the 2017 Vuelta a San Juan, was fittingly given the award by teammate and training partner Yves Lampaert, who delivered it by tractor.
“The ideal helper always puts the team’s interest above his individual interest,” Declercq told Het Laatste Nieuws. “He disappears completely.”
Declercq, who added that he was surprised to win the award again, has yet to win a race since turning pro with Topsport Vlaanderen in 2012, but came close at the final race of 2020, finishing second at the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, 21 seconds down on Lampaert.
However, he did take a win off the bike earlier in the year, being named the peloton’s top domestique by his peers during Cyclingnews’ Domestique Week.
Thibau Nys – son of cyclo-cross legend Sven – was awarded best young rider of the year, following on from Ilan Van Wilder (Team DSM) and Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep). The 18-year-old Telenet Baloise Lions rider dominated the 2019-20 junior cyclo-cross calendar, taking 22 wins including European and Worlds titles and the UCI World Cup.
Kristallen Fiets continues this week, with awards for best female rider (won last year by Sanne Cant), best manager (Patrick Lefevere, for the seventh time) and the Crystal Bicycle for the best male rider (Remco Evenepoel).