These stunning and surreal looking cycling shots are among the winners at the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2023 photo comp

Senad Grosic riding in La Muralla Roja, Calpe, Spain
Masterpiece by Lorenz Holder shows BMX rider Senad Grosic in La Muralla Roja, Calpe, Spain (Image credit: Lorenz Holder)

Now in its 17th year, Red Bull Illume is one of the most prestigious photography competitions in the world and attracts entries from professional and amateur creators from across the globe. The ten categories showcase the best photography in action sports, including mountain biking, BMX, climbing, surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding.

This year the overall grand prize winner was won by photographer Krystle Wright who blew the 50 contest judges away with her incredible photo of climber Angela VanWiemeersch scaling a cliff in Long Canyon, Utah. Krystle also became the first female winner of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest contest, although it's not her first taste of success in the contest, having previously been a category finalist in 2013 and made the top 25 in 2013 and 2019.

The Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2023 overall winning image shows climber Angela VanWiemeersch climbing a lit up crack

The Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2023 overall winning image shows climber Angela VanWiemeersch in Long Canyon, Utah (Image credit: Krystle Wright)

Of course, all the winning images are incredible, but we may be slightly biased toward the cycling-themed shots as our favourites, although Bike Perfect editor Rich is loving the surfing shots too. My top pick has to be Senad Grosic in La Muralla Roja, in Calpe, Spain, shot by Lorenz Holder. The colorful shot titled Masterpiece shows BMX rider Senad Grosic riding in surreal-looking surroundings.

Below are the category winners which also has another couple of stunning biking shots and one we recognized featured in MTB legend Kilian Bron's latest mountain bike epic – Fuego. This beautiful drone shot by Jb Liautard shows Kilian riding on endless-looking desert dunes.

Kilian Bron riding endless dunes in Chile from above

Jb Liautard's image of Kilian Bron riding endless dunes in Chile is from Bron's film Fuego (Image credit: Jb Liautard)

Mountain bike rider Arthur Deblonde in the air beside a lit up tree

The RAW Category Winner show freerider Arthur Deblonde in Briançon, France, photographed by Léo Grosgurin (Image credit: Léo Grosgurin)

Surfer riding massive waves in Tasmania, Australia

James “Jimmy” McKean in Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania, Australia shot photographed by Ted Grambeau won the Energy Category in the 2023 Red Bull Illume Image Quest (Image credit: Ted Grambeau)

Black and white image of a climber in a cave in L’Usine, Voreppe,

Another climbing image came close to winning the overall as Delphin Montessuit's shot of Virgile Devin in L’Usine, Voreppe, France won the Creativity Category  (Image credit: Delphin Montessuit)

Snowboarder in the air

Alejandro Arellano in Punta Malacara, Spain, photographed by Yhabril won the Photos of Instagram Category in the 2023 Red Bull Illume Image Quest (Image credit: Yhabril)

Two surfers with a car loaded with surf boards looking at the waves in Morocco

Photographed by Ross Taylor, the Lifestyle by COOPH Category Winner shows surfers Jonathan Sapir and Jorden Brunshteen in Anchor Point, Taghazout, Morocco (Image credit: Ross Taylor)

A kayaker in a powerful waterfall

Another shot from Chile won the Emerging with Canon Category, it shows kayaker Kilian Ivelic Astorga in Maipo, Chile, photographed by Gonzalo Robert Parraguez (Image credit: Gonzalo Robert Parraguez)

Skateboarder in the air on staircase in Cologne

Jan Fassbender captured skateboarder Jann Hinz in Cologne, Germany and won the Moment of Wow by Blue Tomato Category  (Image credit: Jan Fassbender)

The top 250 images from this year’s contest are featured in a limited edition Red Bull Illume 2023 Photobook. The book is limited to 2,500 copies and is available to preorder from COOPH for $60. The winning photos are also featured in an online gallery.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Paul Brett is a staff writer for He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm