The Association Internationale des Journalistes du Cyclisme (AIJC) has voted to give its annual award for the most media-friendly rider in professional cycling to Thibaut Pinot of Team Groupama-FDJ, with Dutch former journalist Bennie Ceulen being honoured with the Outstanding Achievement in the field of Cycling Journalism Award.
The AIJC created the most media-friendly award in 2015 as a form of recognition of those members of the professional cycling community who make a special effort to work with the media and who respect the media’s independent role in professional cycling. In 2015 the Giant-Alpecin team won the most media-friendly award in recognition of its efforts to work with and assist the media throughout the season. In 2016 the prize went to Colombian Esteban Chaves. In 2017 to Dutchman Tom Dumoulin.
In 2018, most of the members voted for Thibaut Pinot. The French rider is praised by journalists for being available to the media in good times as well as in bad times. After a disappointment, as in the last mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia 2018, he was also available at the end of the stages. And after his great successes in for example Il Lombardia, he tells his story extensively. The award of the AIJC prize is also a reward for the media policy of Team Groupama-FDJ. By attracting Marion Zimine-Gachies (formerly ASO and IAM Cycling), the team shows that it wants to invest in a good relationship with the press.
After Jean-Paul Oliver, Jim Wilcockson and Graham Watson the board of the AIJC honoured Bennie Ceulen with the Outstanding Achievement in the field of Cycling Journalism Award. As a teammate with the French team Gitane of the Tour de France winners Bernard Hinault and Lucien van Impe, Ceulen ended up in the world of cycling. After his active career he was a journalist for thirty years at the Limburgs Dagblad and De Limburger. He also worked as a delegate of the Tour de France in the Netherlands. For years he was the press officer of the Amstel Gold Race. For the last ten years he has been active as press officer of Skil-Shimano, Argos, Giant and Team Sunweb. Ceulen worked in this position mainly with Tom Dumoulin, who lives about 10 kilometers away from him. He made Team Sunweb one of the most media friendly teams.
The AIJC was created in 1976 to bring journalists from different media and different nations covering professional cycling together, with the aim of promoting solidarity among sports journalists throughout the world. The AIJC works with the UCI, race organisers, teams and riders to sustain and develop a professional working relationship and the correct reporting of the sport on a worldwide basis. The AIJC strives to constantly improve the working conditions of its members and as a consequence the reporting of professional cycling.
Raymond Kerckhoffs is the current president of the AIJC, with delegates and representatives in numerous parts of the world. The AIJC has more than 300 members from more than 30 countries.