“It’s an honour to be nominated. I feel humbled. I really didn’t expect it,” Gibbons said yesterday.
The name of the sixth winner of the trophy is expected to be announced later today (Wednesday).
Gibbons embarked on his first year of professional cycling after signing for Team Dimension Data in October last year.
He is justifiably proud of his accomplishments this year. “It has been a year of many firsts,” he said.
“Winning a stage, the sprinter’s jersey and the overall title in the Tour de Langkawi was the highlight.
“It was only my second race as a professional. What made it more special was that South African riders have such a rich history in that event.
“Getting the opportunity to do my first monument at the Paris-Roubaix was another highlight and a memory I’ll also never forget,” he added.
Winning the award would be a huge honour considering the rise in standards in African cycling, he said.
“To win this trophy at a time when African cyclists are getting top-10 places and challenging for podium spots in world tours would be something very special.
“Africa is an emerging cycling entity and more and more African cyclists are turning pro each year,” Gibbons said.
“I have raced only once in South Africa in two years (in the national road championships) and nowhere else in Africa, so I’m not too familiar with some of the African riders.
“But there are strong riders coming through the ranks and winning the trophy would be a highlight in anyone’s career,” he added.