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Cyclingnews 2008 Reader Poll Results

Best male road rider

Contador claims another title in 2008

By Les Clarke

Alberto Contador (Astana)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The passion, the 'six-shooter' salute, the triple crown... these are just three of the reasons why Cyclingnews readers chose Spain's Alberto Contador as the best male road rider in 2008. He won the title by an overwhelming margin, replicating the style in which he conquered the competition on the road this year.

During the past three seasons, the gifted climber from Pinto, Spain, has dealt with playing musical chairs with four different teams (Liberty Seguros, Astana, Discovery Channel and back to the 'new' Astana), whilst fending off claims that his relationship with former boss Manolo Saiz means he played a part in Operación Puerto.

In the meantime, he has won a Tour de France crown (2007), Giro d'Italia title (2008) and his home Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España (2008). The second of these came after his team was given a late lifeline and granted entry into the May event whilst the immensely talented rider was enjoying some downtime with his mates on the beach in southern Spain.

Wins in the Vuelta a País Vasco and Vuelta a Castilla y León during the earlier months of last year came amid controversy surrounding ASO's denial of Astana's invitation to the 2008 Tour de France. A frustrated Contador aired his displeasure on national TV, but put the disappointment behind him to win the other two Grand Tours anyway.

With a shot at the Vuelta crown just weeks away, Contador didn't prioritise the Olympic road race, but our readers found it hard to resist a man who took two medals on the road at the Beijing Games. They voted for Fabian Cancellara as runner up for best male road rider thanks to his bronze in the Olympic road race and gold in the time trial.

This was just part of a stellar season that included being a part of the Tour de France-winning squad, a win in Milano-Sanremo and second in Paris-Roubaix. The perennial Swiss performer also took a win at the Monte Paschi Eroica, the overall title at Tirreno-Adriatico and stages of his home tour. It was an incredible season for a man at the peak of his powers on a bike.

Another man proving his time has come on two wheels was Mark Cavendish, who blew the competition away during four stages of the Tour de France and announced his intentions to do more of the same in 2009. Consequently, Cyclingnews readers decided that the young and exciting Manxman took the third step of the podium for male road rider of the year.

Results

Road Male                                                                         Votes  %age
   
1 Alberto Contador                                                                 5383  44.81
2 Fabian Cancellara                                                                2142  17.83
3 Mark Cavendish                                                                   1396  11.62
4 Alejandro Valverde                                                                602  5.01
5 Cadel Evans                                                                       586  4.88
6 Jens Voigt                                                                        548  4.56
7 Carlos Sastre                                                                     524  4.36
8 Christian Vande Velde                                                             443  3.69
9 Damiano Cunego                                                                    191  1.59
10 Samuel Sanchez                                                                   117  0.97
11 Kim Kirchen                                                                       82  0.68
   
                                                                           Total: 12014