Best Rides of 2000
The cyclingnews Christmas Competition

Blackburn Motivator winner    Full list of Nominated Riders    Regular letters Section

Cyclingnews reader poll Rider of the Year: Lance Armstrong

Our Christmas poll attracted thousands of votes from 48 countries and when time came to tally them, your verdict was clear: Lance Armstrong by a margin equivalent to winning the Tour prologue and staying in yellow for the next three weeks.

Here is the final vote tally. To illustrate the gap between numerical success as measured by the UCI and ability to inspire cyclingnews readers, the UCI ranking of riders is shown in brackets. Clicking on the links will take you to the collected readers' comments about that particular rider.

Blackburn Motivator winner

We are proud to announce the winner of the Blackburn Motivator DVD training system for our 'Best of 2000' poll:

Tom Grothe is a 52 year old masters racer from Minnesota, USA and races for the Grand Performance/Bianchi team in St Paul, Minnesota. He rides a Bianchi XL Aluminium frame equipped with Campagnolo Record, and says that he'll "use the Blackburn Motivator for winter training and warming up before races." Congratulations, Tom!

However, he is more than just your average 52 year old Masters racer. According to his peers, Tom has had some incredible luck, mostly of the bad variety over the past few years.

Approximately one year ago, Tom had the misfortune of being hit by a motorist while riding with a group. A motorist turning left tried to squeeze through busy traffic and didn't see the riders coming up the road. Others were injured, but Tom took the brunt of it. Among other things, he injured both knees and completely shattered both the upper and lower bones of one leg. He was told that had this happened 10 years ago they'd have just amputated his leg.

Tom remained positive about the entire ordeal, turning up to local Minnesota races and cheering on his teammates. His colleagues saw him move from a wheelchair to crutches to a cane, pushing forward and dealing with things head-on.

Tom may need both knees replaced as a result of the accident, but wants to get himself fit once again before undergoing the procedures so that recovery won't take as long. The Blackburn Motivator came along at just the right time and went to just the right person.

Here's what Tom has won...
Click for larger image
Blackburn Motivator
Photo: © Bruce Ewert

Tom has won the definitive training system for the Internet (TM) junkie, courtesy of Blackburn. The Blackburn Motivator system allows you to ride Moab, Monterey or Paris-Roubaix indoors on WebDVD. Your pedaling dynamically controls the DVD's video speed, with the patented Blackburn Motivator Interactive Real Video Training System. What better way to make training indoors actually enjoyable!


                               Votes (UCI ranking)
1 Lance Armstrong              48.42% (4)
2 Johan Museeuw                16.41 (59)
3 Jan Ullrich                   5.41 (6)
4 Andrei Tchmil                 5.33 (9)
5 Erik Dekker                   4.64 (17)
6 Vjatceslav Ekimov             4.42 (67)
7 Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel 3.88 (4)
8 Axel Merckx                   3.24 (20)
9 Erik Zabel                    2.28 (2)
10 Oscar Freire                 1.52 (11)
11 Andrea Tafi                  1.45 (130)
12 David Millar                 1.33 (120)
13 Francesco Casagrande         0.99 (1)
14 Marco Pantani                0.69 (177)

Notes: The final vote was somewhat skewed, and we expected it would be. Many of our readers are from the US and are big fans of Lance, and the statistics are reflected in the poll. Actually, a large proportion of them (about 40%) *didn't* vote for him, which was reasonably impressive. The results of the poll, excluding US readers, would have still resulted in a win to Lance however. Even in Belgium, Armstrong tied with Tchmil and Museeuw for first place!'s picks for 2000 webmaster Jeff Jones' picks for the best of the year:

Male road rider
Erik Zabel. The most victories (17), two classic wins (Milan-San Remo for the third time, and the Amstel Gold race), as well as fourth in Ronde van Vlaanderen, third in Paris-Roubaix, fourth in the HEW Cyclassics. Zabel also took the Tour de France green points jersey for a record 5th time, and won the Dortmund Six. Damned consistent and extremely versatile!

Female road rider
Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel. 42 wins. Double gold in the Olympics is a good start, but she also won numerous stage races and rose to number four on the UCI rankings. Joane Somarriba deserves a mention for winning the women's Giro and Tour, while Diana Ziliute won the overall classification of the World Cup and finished World Number One. However, Leontien gets my vote again because of her consistency.

Male track rider
The Olympics is the pinnacle of track cycling, so the nod goes to Robert Bartko who has been at the top of pursuiting for a couple of years and was part of the sub 4 minute German pursuit team. Scott McGrory deserves a mention as well, considering the trauma of losing a child. All the sprinters shared the glory around throughout the year, hence it was hard to pick a standout.

Female track rider
Felicia Ballanger was unstoppable in any race that she did and capped a brilliant career with double gold in the Olympic Games. Van Moorsel also rode well at the Games, but did not race on the track for the rest of the year.

Male MTB rider
Miguel Martinez. World Champion, World Cup Champion and Olympic Champion. Enough said.

Female MTB rider
Margarita Fullana. World Champ, third in the Olympics behind Blatter and Pezzo, plus three World Cup wins. Blatter was good too: three World Cup wins and the World Cup overall, second in the Olympics, fourth in the World's. Pezzo's single-mindedness in taking a second consecutive Olympic gold also deserves a mention, though the rest of her season suffered for it. A close call...

Male cyclo-cross rider
Richard Groenendaal: World Champ, World number one, and likely winner of the SuperPrestige and World Cup for 2000/2001. Mr Consistency.

Female cyclocross rider
Hanka Kupfernagel. Women's world champ. She almost never gets beaten in a women's 'cross race.

Male team
Kelme-Costa Blanca. Winners of the team classifications in the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France. They were ranked as high as three (behind Telekom and Mapei) in the UCI rankings, and Roberto Heras won the Vuelta - a first for the team. Kelme demonstrated some very exciting and attacking riding in the Tour in potentially "slow" stages. They weren't going to let Lance Armstrong walk away with it. All this on a budget approximately half that of normal division one teams...

Female team
Acca Due O. The dream team of Diana Ziliute, the Polikeviciute twins, Marion Clignet, Zulfia Zabirova, and Tatiana Stiajkina. Some races they utterly dominated like the Women's Tour de Suisse, and they finished on top of the UCI team rankings by a long shot. Farm Frites-Hartol did quite well too, but they had less versatility than Acca Due O.

Best ride of 2000
I confess a little bias here, but: Jan Ullrich in the Olympics because of the pressure and the way in which he did it. Everyone was peaking for that race, and Jan was clearly the strongest on the day. Lance Armstrong in stage 10 of the Tour was pretty awesome as well, but he didn't win the stage (Javier Oxtoa did). Museeuw in Paris-Roubaix gets third in my vote.

Most significant non-race event
Nicole Reinhart's death. A terrible loss. Other noteworthy events also had a negative air: the Festina and Pantani trials. On the upside, the development of a test for EPO, even though it has yet to be fully accepted, brings hopes of eradicating this form of doping.

Tomas Nilsson, our European correspondent for much of the year, adds his thoughts:

Greatest moment of the year
It might not have been the ride of the year but I had the pleasure of reporting live on from a number of great events during the season of 2000, and the moment to remember came on the 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia, on the penultimate climb of the day up the Col d'Agnello. Not just any climb, this was the highest passage of the whole race and thus designated "Cima Coppi" as the most prestigious mountain prime.

Marco Pantani's Giro had been a training ride from Rome for two weeks and more in his first serious race since he was taken out of last year's Giro with a high haematocrit level. (His early season attempts in Spain might as well be forgotten.) On all previous mountain stages he had been left behind early. And also so today. But then, on the Cima Coppi, he returned and caught the group with the top overall riders, including team mate Stefano Garzelli who had a very good chance to win the Giro.

We all wondered what he was up to but Pantani's answer was immediate: He rode up to Garzelli and handed over a water bottle.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was the greatest moment in 2000. A fallen star rose and paid respect to all the unwritten rules of cycling. Subsequently Pantani aided Garzelli for the rest of the stage and then went off to take second spot in Briancon and showed that he was back in top level racing. What ever you might say about Marco Pantani he has always paid respect to cycling as a unique sport with all its myths, legends and traditions. The handing of a water bottle is a gesture that means for more than just being nice to a thirsty team-mate.

All the Nominations

Notes: the number of nominations is not the same as the number of votes. The following were all the names received up to December 18, 2000, when we closed off reader submissions. From there, we chose the top 15 and collected readers comments into individual files, allowing you to vote with via the online form. Several thousand votes were collected during the time period of the competition.

Name                                             Nominations
Lance Armstrong - Tour de France                     31
Johan Museeuw - Paris-Roubaix                        26
Andrei Tchmil - Tour of Flanders                     19
Jan Ullrich - Olympic Games                          14
Erik Zabel - World Cup                               10
Vjatcheslav Ekimov - Olympic Time Trial              10
Axel Merckx - Giro d'Italia/Belgian Champion         9 
Marco Pantani - Giro/Tour                            9 
Andrea Tafi - Paris-Tours                            8 
David Millar - Tour yellow                           8 
Francesco Casagrande - Giro/Abetone                  8 
Leontien van Moorsel-Zijlaard - Triple Olympic Gold  7 
Erik Dekker - Tour de France/San Sebastian           6 
Oscar Freire - 10 wins as World Champion             6 
Chris Boardman                                       5
Kelme team                                           5
Alex Vinokourov                                      3
Andreas Kloden                                       3
Romans Vainsteins                                    3
Scott Sunderland                                     3
Stefano Garzelli                                     3
Tyler Hamilton                                       3
David McKenzie                                       2
Gord Fraser                                          2
Jason Queally                                        2
Jeremy Yates                                         2
Laurent Dufaux                                       2
Marty Nothstein                                      2
McGory and Aitken                                    2
Nicole Cooke                                         2
Niklas Axelsson                                      2
Roberto Heras                                        2
Telekom                                              2
US Postal team                                       2
Alistair Sponsel                                     1
Andrei Zintchenko                                    1
Armstrong, Zabriskie                                 1
Brad McGee                                           1
Championship of Zurich                               1
Clara Hughes                                         1
Danilo Di Luca                                       1
Dave Bruylandts                                      1
David Plaza                                          1
Euskaltel-Euskadi team                               1
Evgeni Petrov                                        1
Floyd Landis                                         1
Frank Vandenbrouke                                   1
Gary Neiwand                                         1
Genevieve Jeanson                                    1
Gethin Butler                                        1
Gian-Matteo Fagnini                                  1
Gilberto Simoni                                      1
Henk Vogels                                          1
Saturn Women - HPLJWC                                1
Javier Otxoa Palacios                                1
Jerome Chiotti                                       1
John Lieswyn                                         1
Kai Hundertmark                                      1
Kam Po Wong                                          1
Ken Muhindi of Kenya                                 1
Linda McCartney team                                 1
Livingston, Hamilton                                 1
Marcel Wust                                          1
Mari Holden                                          1
Mark Renshaw                                         1
Miguel Martinez                                      1
Nico Mattan                                          1
Nicole Reinhart                                      1
Olympic - German team                                1
Paola Pezzo                                          1
Pia Sundstedt                                        1
Piotr Wadecki                                        1
Richard Virenque                                     1
Santiago Botero                                      1
Saturn Women                                         1
Stefano Zanini                                       1
Steffen Wesemann                                     1
Stuat O'Grady                                        1
Mercury team                                         1
Thomas Frischknecht                                  1
Trevor Lister                                        1
Victor Hugo Peņa Grisales                            1
Yvonne  McGregor                                     1