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Cyclingnews 2006 Reader Poll Results

Best male road rider

One of Bettini's happiest moments
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Again, a classics rider triumphs at the Cyclingnews reader polls! 2005 crowned Belgian sprint monster Tom Boonen, and this year's award goes to the unpredictable "Grillo" Paolo Bettini. Both have achieved their most beautiful seasons within the Quick.Step team of Patrick Lefévère - a pure coincidence?

After a rather uncertain start to his 2006 season, when Bettini and his classics' rival Boonen fought for leadership within the squad, the small Italian has shown that at 32-years-old, he knows just what it takes to realise his greatest dreams. When Bettini soared over the finish line at the Salzburg World Championships, the Olympic gold medalist added one more of the biggest victories ever to his palmarès. And when he won the Giro di Lombardia just weeks later, only days after the tragic death of his dear brother, all of us identified with him even more deeply.

More than 21% of Cyclingnews' readers voted for "Il Grillo" in this category of best male road rider. Runner-up Alejandro Valverde scored nearly 15% of the votes for his astounding Flèche Wallonne/Liège-Bastogne-Liège double. Another classics rider...

Third place goes to Alexandre Vinokourov for his tenacious Vuelta a España victory and missed opportunity for Tour de France revenge, no doubt. The Kazakhstani, who beat Valverde on his home turf in September, got very close to Valverde with a little more than 13% of the votes.


                         Votes     %ge
1 Paolo Bettini           2399    21.3
2 Alejandro Valverde      1682    14.9
3 Alexandre Vinokurov     1491    13.2
4 Floyd Landis            1265    11.2
5 Tom Boonen              1207    10.7
6 Ivan Basso               739     6.5
7 Jens Voigt               582     5.2
8 Robbie McEwen            415     3.7
9 Fabian Cancellara        311     2.8
10 Carlos Sastre           279     2.5
11 Erik Zabel              217     1.9
12 Thor Hushovd            175     1.6
13 Oscar Pereiro           147     1.3
14 Dave Zabriskie           80     0.7
15 Stuart O'Grady           71     0.6
16 Levi Leipheimer          62     0.5
17 Sammy Sanchez            56     0.5
18 Damiano Cunego           51     0.5
19 Andreas Kloden           50     0.4
20 Filippo Pozzato           8     0.1

Total:                   11287