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2001 Results

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Cyclingnews 2002 Reader Poll Results

Best Stage Race

The hills of the Tour
Photo: © Russell Standring
Click for larger image

Grand in name and in stature, the Big Three national tours dominated the voting, and the oldest of them all, the Tour de France, took the yellow jersey for best stage race.

Fully 95 percent of the votes went to one of the Grand Tours, but aside from that the gap between the Tour and the Vuelta is quite narrow. In a way that's not surprising. The 2002 Tour was dominated by Lance Armstrong's carefully-planned assault on Victory #4. That campaign had its dramatic moments - such as Armstrong's 'No, this is an attack' ride away from Beloki on the climb to Ventoux - but many felt there was a certain air of inevitability about it that shifted their attention to the Vuelta, a race one voter described as "like the indy version of the TdF".

Here's a selection of the reasons why people voted as they did

Tour de France

  • The drama, the course, the organisation, the winners!
  • The others pale in comparison.
  • Because it is epic and ALL the best riders show up (that is if Mr. Leblanc lets them!)
  • Though Joseba Beloki never took the initiative to make a significant attack to threaten Armstrong it bought out the likes of Jaja and the heroics of Jacky Durand and other breakaway artists.
  • Despite Armstrong's domination, there was still something going on every day to keep me riveted until the final podium.
  • USPS team just took control.
  • It's the biggest. And the best PR for cycling there is.
  • Despite all the poor tactics of the other teams, Strongarm came out on top anyway. He was unbeatable.
  • Suspense? None. But watching Lance stamp himself as a true patron of the peloton is great to see.
  • Always the biggest tour and Lance won. Again. Jalabert's last time around.
  • The crowds along the route are so awesome. The people are so friendly and excited for the race,as they wait for the peloton.
  • It is what pro cycling is all about, Lance or no Lance.
  • The Grandaddy of all stage races dominated so thoroughly by a very focused rider and team - Lance Armstrong & US Postal.
  • The Giro and Veulta were more exciting finishes, but the best riders fought it out for the Tour.
  • The hardest, most well organised with epic routes. Unfortunately has lost some of its credibility towards the spectators since the selection criteria used by Leblanc is more than ambiguous.

Vuelta a Espana

  • This year la Vuelta had all the ingredients for an intriguing event that easily held your attention for the whole 3 weeks. Mario tuning up for the World championships, with Giovanni Lombardi leading him out like The Flash! Inter team competition between Sevilla and Gonzalez on Kelme. Heras putting it down in the Mountains. USPS trying to get him home 1st but Roberto finally faltering in his Achilles Heel- The Time Trial. Angliru- It doesn't even sound as angry as it really was. Aitor to the finish, Venga, Venga, Venga!!! It was by far the most exciting race of the year.
  • Because it wasn't over on the first climbing stage and the favourites weren't all booted out in the middle of the race.
  • This race gets better every year. It is exciting right up to the finish. Well done!
  • The rain in Spain falls gently on Roberto Heras. That big climbing stage. That is pain on his face.
  • Everyone knew the conclusion of the TdF but the Vuelta kept you on the edge of your seat
  • Exciting racing to the end. The Angliru stage.
  • Constantly striving to improve their race and willing to try real changes like shortening stages to improve the racing.
  • So competetive. Much more attacking and strategy than in the Tour. No dominant rider like Lance.
  • Back stabbing team-mates. The Angliru.
  • There isn't a predetermined winner. They never give up and always attack!!
  • Just beat the Tour in terms of excitement because you never know who will win. Non-stop attacking, nail-biter racing.
  • Exciting until the very last day - literally! And probably the hardest climb in the world..
  • The girls in that part of the world. WOW. Bike racing was only invented for cyclists to have an excuse to shave their legs to attract Spanish women.

Giro d'Italia

  • Drama on and off the course, Hamilton and Evans exhibit their talent and a winner who was considered a has-been.
  • Tour has become boring, the giro saw some new riders really come to the fore, despite all the expulsions
  • A winner was difficult to pick after the big three had been thrown off
  • 1/2 race 1/2 soap opera
  • True test and has more talent than the tour.....much less politics and more real racing.....let armstrong get in this race and then we'll see how well he does!!
  • Tyler Hamilton racing with broken collarbone and getting 2nd, Cadel evans dramatic self destruction whilst wearing pink . . . discounting the usual scandals more twists and turns than your average soap opera
  • Cause lately it's the only tour I can watch Cipo kick a bunch of young punk ASS!!!
  • Unpredictable results (unlike the Tour).
  • The TDF is the big corporate engine, and often boring. The Giro is suspenseful and unpredictable, a race played out on a breathtaking backdrop of the Italian countryside. Yes, the Giro disappoints, what with the drug raids and racing favorites thrown out for drugs for fighting seemingly every year, yet the Giro provides the excitement like no other grand tour.
  • Tyler Hamilton finishing 2nd with broken shoulder.
  • Despite the scandals, it's still got the magic that the Tour has lost.
  • Cadel's rise/fall. A vivid example of education and valuable experience gained. Fellow MTB'er Rasmussen steps up to the plate in support of team leader Hamilton. Dramatic shifts in power in the latter stages kept me on the edge of my seat.


                                                           Votes     %ge
1 Tour de France                                             356    44.2
2 Vuelta a Espana                                            284    35.3
3 Giro d'Italia                                              125    15.5
4 Tour of Poland                                               3     0.4
4 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré                                 3     0.4
6 Tour of the Gila                                             2     0.2
6 Tour Down Under                                              2     0.2
6 Tour de Suisse                                               2     0.2
6 Paris-Nice                                                   2     0.2
6 Midi Libre                                                   2     0.2
6 HP Women's Challenge                                         2     0.2
12 Vuelta al Pais Vasco                                        1     0.1
12 Vuelta a murcia                                             1     0.1
12 Trans Alp                                                   1     0.1
12 Tour of Willamette                                          1     0.1
12 Tour of Romandie                                            1     0.1
12 Tour of Portugal                                            1     0.1
12 Tour Du Pont                                                1     0.1
12 Tour de Langkawi                                            1     0.1
12 Tour de Beauce                                              1     0.1
12 Ringerike GP, Norway                                        1     0.1
12 Postgirot Open / Tour of Sweden                             1     0.1
12 Post Danmark Rundt                                          1     0.1
12 Multi-Laser Grand Prix - Gananoque Ontario                  1     0.1
12 Millionaire's Row Stage Race                                1     0.1
12 Herald sun tour                                             1     0.1
12 Grande Boucle Feminin                                       1     0.1
12 GP Erik Breukink                                            1     0.1
12 GDP Grand Prix                                              1     0.1
12 Fitchburg                                                   1     0.1
12 Elkhorn Classic                                             1     0.1
12 Coupe des Ameriques                                         1     0.1
12 Four Days of Dunkerque                                      1     0.1

Total                                                        805