The Mark Gunter Photo Awards: Sean Hardy's shortlist

The penultimate shortlist from our judges in this year's competition comes from the winner of the 2021 edition, Sean Hardy. Sean contributes images regularly to Rouleur, read on to discover his pick of outstanding images from the professional and amateur categories.

Sean Hardy is an independent photographer and film-maker based in London. Sean won The Mark Gunter Photo Awards in 2021 with his shot of Team WNT-Ceratizit’s Lotta Henttala, and regularly contributes photography to Rouleur. 

I especially enjoyed looking at the amateur selection this year. The standard has been consistently high, demonstrating how amateur photographers continue to learn to see things differently. In particular, I enjoyed where attention has been given to playing with light, and the daring approach to making their photographs work.

There are images in this selection I would have loved to have taken. I enjoy images that make me stop and look, and the amateurs had that in abundance. All the images entered show such great promise for years to come, which is very exciting.

As always, the pro category produced some outstanding images. Still, I wanted to see images that weren't obvious, playing with colours and light, using shadows and angles to produce something that really pops. Different to many amateurs, professionals can get that access to riders or events with their special accreditations, so seeing that being used to full advantage was really nice.

There was a handful of images that were super easy to pick, but the standard was so high this year that it was really hard to put together a list of only 10.

Here are my shortlists for The Mark Gunter Photo Awards 2022:

AMATEUR CATEGORY

Mat Gilfedder @matgilfedder

Friday night crits under lights out at Ipswich Cycle Park, on a clear moonlit night.

Hung Mai @hungmaiphotography

MFG CX at Fort Steilacoom Park in Washington. We've hit October now and there still hasn't been a drop of rain in sight. The dust getting kicked up into the light make it a dream for photographers but an absolute nightmare for the athletes.

Saskia Martin @saskiacmartin

In the Shadows. Cross racing at it hardest. Mud and pure grit.

Saskia Martin @saskiacmartin

Not everyday is a snow day. The harsh conditions across London meant it was time to escape to the forest on mountain bikes.

Saskia Martin @saskiacmartin

Through the crowds. The intensity of Roubaix means you need to push through the crowds to try and capture the Peloton finishing.

James Middleton @jmidphoto

Tiny riders. Yet another from the 3 peaks race and one that sums up cyclocross: you're either on the bike or the bikes on you. I saw these two like ants from a distance and knew I needed to go for the silhouette shot, thankfully they lined themselves up perfectly in different poses for me too!

Suzan Debuysere @suzandbsr

After damaging his back in a fall during the mountain bike race at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, I guess Mathieu had the most difficult period of his career. He struggled but worked so hard, together with Roxanne. He won his second Ronde van Vlaanderen in April '22. I focused on Roxanne, on how she was crying. Well, that says it all.

Iurii Makalis @makalisiurii

Total blackout. Night ride in Odesa, Ukraine is a challenge now. Already for two months due to rockets attacks city every day has power outages that left city in dark, thus lights from auto, steam and streets create strange ambiance, but with hope for great future. Thanks to Alex that follows me on short city rides.

Ben Allan @ballonandon

Best dam climb in the UK. The Stwlan Dam in Snowdonia, Wales. Switchbacks. Epic scenery. CLOSED TO CARS! This was on a trip with mates. Perfect weather. Perfect route. I had the legs and managed to get up there ahead of some, so at least the slowest was rewarded with this lovely photo as they rounded the penultimate bend.

In the Ötztal Alps, just across the Italy/Austria border lies this gem of a dead end climb. Cousin of the Zoncolan, the Mortirolo, and the Alto de l’Angliru, but higher than them all at 2,798m. Make it up this one last kick and you can climb even higher through a 1.7km tunnel under the glacier which emerges at the Tiefenbachferner (2,829m).

Jenna Leigh @jenna7788

PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY

Bram Berkien @bramberkien

Danish cyclist Jonas Vingegaard shares a quiet and intimate moment with his partner Trine Marie Hansen on the Champs Élisées in Paris just after the final stage of the 2022 Tour de France. After three weeks of racing, the Team Jumbo-Visma rider secured the overall victory of the most prestigious cycling race in the world. This photo was shot just before the podium ceremony, in a backstage area.

Eloise Mavian @eloisemavian

The final stage of the Tour de France Femmes ended on the infamous Super Planche des Belles Filles. When Demi crossed the finish line she directly went to lie down on the ground, exhausted. Her mother was holding her hand and she quickly jumped over the barriers to hold her tight. She had a big smile on her face and she was constantly whispering to Demi while she was trying to catch her breath. I stayed on the ground enjoying this beautiful magical moment between mother and daughter.

Zac Williams @z_w_photography

It was Stage 1 of the 2022 Giro. We were on the brink of stopping in a nothing spot, just to bank some pics, when we drove past half a dozen horsemen, fully kitted out in traditional outfits, we knew this was the shot. We jumped out of the car and positioned ourselves in the field, to shoot the horses as they raced next to the peloton while it rolled by. Sure enough, on cue, the horses galloped along parallel to the riders and gave me this shot, well and truly saving the day on the image front.

Jojo harper @jojoharper_

For me this images sums up this years TDFF. The next generation of female cyclists in the foreground, with the penultimate climb of the Tour in the background

Anouk Flesch @anoukflesch

2nd edition of Paris Roubaix Femmes. For many riders, getting a picture in the iconic showers in Roubaix is at least as important as a picture of them during the race itself. Here, Flora Perkins (Le Col Wahoo) after her first Paris-Roubaix participation.

Russ Ellis @cyclingimages

“Changing Perceptions“ This image was shot at the 2022 Tour de France Femmes - A landmark race. I was scoping out our location and saw the beauty shop window in a small village - I had the idea of catching the yellow jersey riding past the reflection in the window, to show that girls can be bad ass as well as feminine!

Michal Cerveny @michalcervenyphoto

A bunch of cyclist rides through the city of Vicenza, Italy to recon the route of the first ever UCI Gravel World Championships.

Bram Paulussen @brampaulussen

“Portrait of Mathijs Wuyts just after he finished the cx race in Oostmalle, Belgium.” 

Andy Rogers @fameandspear

After climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, I was treated to this stunning vista of the women's peloton of the Tour de France Femmes racing up the Champs-Elysees surrounded by sprawling Paris.

Mats Palinckx @matspalinckx

During the hottest day of the year in Belgium, the queen stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour took place. Riders arrived completely overheated. And barely tried to refresh themselves with some ice cold water.