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Cyclingnews' 2002 Top Ten
The year's best, as selected by the Cyclingnews team
For the last week discussion in the Cyclingnews office has been hectic and sometimes heated about who should be nominated for our own 2002 top 10 of the best in cycling.
With the nominations whittled down to 21 riders, events and notions like 'Italian road cycling in general' we then each picked our top ten, points were allocated to the selections and the mighty Cyclingnews supercomputer (OK, Microsoft Excel) delivered the results.
Tomorrow we'll start delivering the results of our 2002 reader's poll, and name the riders who you have chosen as the best across a range of disciplines.
The envelope please
In reverse order, then, here's Cyclingnews' 2002 Top Ten - the Best of Cycling
10: The Australian 4000m pursuit team
In 2002 the Australian track squad was practically unstoppable, winning medals at World Cups, World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. We've singled out one performance for special recognition: the gold medal-winning and world record-setting ride by Graeme Brown, Peter Dawson, Mark Renshaw and Luke Roberts at the Commonwealth games. 4000m in 3.59.583 - a truly stellar performance.
Special mention should also go to Stephen Wooldridge, who helped the team qualify at Manchester, while Brett Lancaster was drafted into the team which secured the Gold at Copenhagen (he replaced Brown), with Wooldridge also part of that gold-medal winning team.
The young Aussie squad has been dogged by bad luck in the previous year, which had seen them hit the deck in the 2001 worlds and again in the Sydney round of the 2002 track World Cup. But in Manchester on the first day of August they rode like a finely-tuned machine to take just over a tenth of a second off the previous mark, set by the German team of Guido Fulst, Robert Bartko, Daniel Becke, and Jens Lehmann.
9: Gunn-Rita Dahle
It was the mountain bike comeback of the year. In 1999 Gunn-Rita Dahle tried to mix top-level road and mountain bike programs, over-trained and crashed and burned, as so many riders before her have done. In 2001 a somewhat recovered Dahle was leading the world's in Vail when she flatted and lost the lead and victory to Alison Dunlap.
In 2002, despite atrocious conditions in Kaprun, things finally went Dahle's way and she was able to deploy the riding skills honed on the slippery trails of Northern Europe, plus her awesome power and fitness to claim a long-deserved victory.
8: Robbie McEwen
In 2002 it seemed Robbie McEwen was a man on a mission. He has always known he was a great rider, but one setback after another has prevented him from truly proving it to the world. This year the sprinter from Queensland, Australia showed beyond shadow of doubt that he is one of the most talented riders in the modern peloton, with stage victories in the Tour de France, Giro, Paris-Nice and the Tour Down Under, plus a nail-bitingly close win in the Tour Green jersey contest.
It also seemed like Robbie raced every chance there was, winning the Australian Road race championships, Belgian and Dutch crits, the overall in the Circuit Franco-Belge and even local races back home in Australia in the last few weeks. Mission accomplished.