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Cyclingnews 2005 Reader Poll Results

Most improved rider

Bobby Julich (CSC)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
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Two riders from the same team almost tied for first place in this category: CSC's Bobby Julich and Dave Zabriskie. For a rider in the later years of his career, poll winner Bobby Julich has undergone an amazing renaissance since joining Bjarne Riis' squad. In 2005 Julich started the year by winning Paris-Nice and went on to clock up overall victories in Critérium International and Eneco Tour of Benelux, plus winning the LuK Challenge two-up time trial with team-mate Jens Voigt.

When he wasn't winning, Julich was a tireless uber-domestique for CSC riders with grand tour ambitions. Riding in support of Ivan Basso he nevertheless finished 17th in the Tour. Considering the sparseness of Julich's palmares in his years with Telekom to 2003, his transformation at CSC has been little short of startling.

Another rider benefitting from the CSC magic is Dave Zabriskie, whose time trialling talent carried him to stage wins in the Giro and Tour this year. Zabriskie's off-beat sense of humour has also made him a favourite, and the two came together when he explained his form in 2005 as arising from CSC's team training camp in late 2004. I was in the hospital during that camp and didn't even finish, so I stared death right in the eye. It helped me grow as a man and become who am I today, because I almost died in those woods... and I can't wait to do it again," he dead-panned to the press during the Tour.

Third placed Cadel Evans didn't so much improve in 2005 as - finally! at last! what a relief! - deliver on the promise he showed when he took the leader jersey in the in the 2002 Giro d'Italia. After a run of injuries in 2003, then being left on the sidelines in 2004 by a T-Mobile team that was totally focused on Jan Ullrich, Evans finally got the chance to ride the Tour in 2005 and didn't disappoint. He finished eighth overall and attacked in the mountains to considerable effect.


                               Votes   %ge
1 Bobby Julich                  1183  16.8
2 Dave Zabriskie                1092  15.5
3 Cadel Evans                    922  13.1
4 Danilo Di Luca                 768  10.9
5 Michael Rasmussen              593   8.4
6 Tom Boonen                     569   8.1
7 Tom Danielson                  446   6.3
8 Ivan Basso                     445   6.3
9 Yaroslav Popovych              269   3.8
10 Jose Rujano                   257   3.6
11 Denis Menchov                 154   2.2
12 Oscar Pereiro                 107   1.5
13 Simon Gerrans                 102   1.4
14 Trent Lowe                     96   1.4
15 Juan Antonio Flecha            43   0.6

Total                           7046