Cyclingnews 2002 Reader Poll Results
Rider of the Year
Photo: © Sirotti
Cipo's dream goes to cycling's heart
If all the suffering and sacrifice which goes with being a cyclist at any competitive
level is about fulfilling one's dreams, then Mario Cipollini's efforts rang
home with our readers this year.
One of the best pictures we published this year showed the Cyclingnews rider
of the year in 2001, Lance Armstrong, congratulating Cipo after his win at Milan
San Remo. That win was The Dream part 1. Then came The Dream part 2 at the other
end of the season with the sprinters' worlds course being taken over by a well-drilled
team working for the el supremo sprinter.
What also convinced many of you was Cipo's hammering into a headwind in this
year's Gent-Wevelgem as he bridged to a leading group that eventually determined
the race. His effort demoralised the riders in that group, such as George Hincapie
and Fred Rodriguez, who realised that only a puncture would stop the big Italian
Next stop for the Cipollini train was the Giro d'Italia where Supermario clocked
up six stage wins including the final one into Milan - a reminder perhaps for
his detractors that he's quite capable of getting over the mountains and finishing
a major stage race. Those half-dozen wins put Cipo within reach of another of
his dreams - to equal the Giro record of 41 stage wins set by the legendary
Alfredo Binda. He just needs one more: a 2003 goal, we suspect.
In between Cipo's high points of the year, Rider of the Year runner-up Lance
Armstrong once again showed his complete and utter dominance in what was arguably
his easiest Tour win. Armstrong is now enjoying even greater recognition and
respect within the USA, as evidenced by his athlete of the year award from the
ball sports dominated Sports Illustrated magazine, as well as other mainstream
media nominations. From a Cyclingnews perspective, what is most surprising is
that these awards have come when Armstrong has won the Tour four times, when
he should have been recognised this way in 1999.
The Blue Train rolled along not just in July, but in May and June as well.
Armstrong was looking suitably motivated after yet another Amstel saga and an
eventual victory or two in April will only help to firm his place among the
Postal's mid-year focus was exposed at the Vuelta. The team was struck by bad
luck and was less experienced than the TdF squad, so it was unable to really
support Heras. At the same time, the lead rider is on his own during the time
trials but the Vuelta could have easily been Postal's second big win.
Meanwhile, Cipo's ongoing frustration with the attitude of the Tour de France
organisers toward him saw him announce his retirement in July, though nobody
really believed he was gone for good. He returned for the Vuelta and before
departing the Spanish Grand Tour to prepare for the world's, he ran up another
three stage victories.
But the stage wins looked like snacks compared to Cipo's two main courses for
the year. Both of them represented dreams; dreams which he'd held and cherished
and used for motivation to keep going all these years. In being so open, he
let us share his desire so when crossed the line in San Remo and Zolder, we
could also celebrate his great victories. Bravo Cipo!
While Cipo and Armstrong dominated the voting, you also recognised Robbie McEwen's
numerous wins this year, Laurent Jalabert's excellent career finale and Santiago
Botero's sheer grit.
- A brilliant season with classic wins and great Giro
- His capacity for self-publicity is boundless. Thankfully it is backed by
his talent. And he is Mr Super Cool
- Mario achieved things this year that he never did in the past. Bridging
up to the winning break at Ghent-Wevelgem showed us that he meant business
this year. Winning the World Chanpionship put the finishing touches on the
- He won in one season, what most people win in a career. 6 stages of the
Giro, 3 at the Vuelta, La Primavera, Ghent-Wevelgem, and the World's! What
more could one ask for?
- Just too many big wins across the whole season to deny him this award too.
- The Giro, Milan San Remo, Gent, the Vuelta and the Worlds. He made a difference
everywhere. If he is not invited to Le Tour, it will be a tragedy to be revisited
on LeBlanc at every opportunity.
- At 35 found the motivation to win at will and add the necessary feathers
to his cap that will keep him counted amongst the all time greats in the sport.
He's got a lot of swagger but backs it up in his brilliant riding.
- Hey, I can hardly stand the guy but his accomplishments this year were un-deniable
- Much as I don't like Cipo, you habe to give credit where credit is due.
He finally won MSR, actually got in a break (!) at GW and finished the season
with the Rainbow Hoops. yeah, not bad
- Hands down the greatest sprinter of his generation. I only hope he gets
one more shot at racing in the TDF.
- Absolutely no question. He won races like clockwork -- and not just flat
sprints, but MSR and G-W. He won everything there was to win, from Giro and
Vuelta stages to the World Championship. Long live the lion king!
- Who has done more?
- From Milan-San Remo to Gent-Wevelhem to the Giro to the Vuelta then to the
Worlds-The Lion King shows that his dreams can come true and, in doing so,
brings much needed romance back to our great sport
- He won everything he set his mind to - plus I love the story a reader sent
in about him giving his cap to a kid in a wheelchair and waiting for the kid's
mum to take a photo. Never thought much of him before, but utter respect based
on that alone.
- Said he'd deliver and did, the hardest possible thing to do in professional
sport. In a one day race like the Worlds you've got to be super to make it
- In another year of drug shame and farce (the Giro anyone) his two victories
brought a huge smile to everyones' face. How can you not celebrate when, in
the autumn of his career, he finally wins the two races that he really cared
about. A man riding for pride and the love of two of the greatest one day
races, not chasing money or world cup points. Made the tour organisers look
very very foolish.
- For winning when everyone expected him to. For showing that winning does
not require head butting tactics.
- At 35 the Lion King finally takes an emotional Milan San Remo, wins Ghent-Wevelgem
by joining a breakaway, takes numerous major stage races, and then caps it
all by riding a faultless, nerveless World Championship to take the biggest
title of his life. As a fellow 35 year old who feels his age, I salute him!
- Won the TdF as expected and also the Midi Libre and Dauphine. Did well early
at the Criterium Intl and Amstel Gold. Finished with a nice result in San
- The singularly determined focus on his objectives. And of course - the payoff.
- Once again he obliterated the rest of the field in Le Tour, reducing the
greatest cycling race in the world to a procession. Boring to watch but you
have to hand it to the man.
- half the world wants him to win and half the world wants him to lose, that
is a tone of pressure and he is able to satisfy half the world and dissappoint
the other half year after year
- His fourth Tour win was backed up my impressive showings and victories in
other races. He plays a role in every race in which he competes, Eddy Merckx
- He remains the most complete cycling athlete around - a 4th Tour just proved
- he did well at everything, winning three stage races, and going well in
classics and Zurich...unstoppable!
- He is the only rider who you have complete and utter right to be scared
silly of. The mental, the physical, this dude has it all- and shows it time
and time again. And, behind the portrayed image, ego and outer-face, you can
sense he is a decent, genuine dude - something a lot of the riders will never
taste in their lives.
- His dominance of the tour is masterful, and he seems to have mellowed a
little as a human being as well!
- I think his domination of his prep races showed just how commited this guy
is to The Tour. There just isn't anyone that has the will to win like this
- The Green Jersey, the Giro & TDF stages, & would have won the worlds if
he had Cipo's train. The most wins of the year !!
- Finally realized his potential.
- The man has won all season & shown his true ability we knew he has. Classy
- Won all year long
- Won from start to finish of season
- Has had a fantastic year, 2nd in the worlds,won 19 races won the green jersey
- Really confirmed that he's among elite riders in the World and will cleary
get better in the next few years.
- I've always liked Robbie Mcewen as the underdog but I like him more as a
dominant force. When he won the Champs stage of the Tour in 99 I hit the roof.
To see him win one beautiful win after another this year Iam beside myself.
As for the little bumping and butting in the worlds with Zabel, that's part
1 Mario Cipollini 425 49.9
2 Lance Armstrong 185 21.7
3 Robbie McEwen 40 4.7
4 Laurent Jalabert 39 4.6
5 Santiago Botero 24 2.8
6 Erik Zabel 15 1.8
7 Paolo Bettini 14 1.6
7 Johan Museeuw 14 1.6
9 Tyler Hamilton 11 1.3
10 Roberto Heras 10 1.2
11 Brad McGee 7 0.8
11 Aitor Gonzalez 7 0.8
13 Susanne Ljungskog 5 0.6
14 Tom Boonen 3 0.4
14 Cadel Evans 3 0.4
16 Roland Green 2 0.2
16 Nicole Cooke 2 0.2
16 Michele Bartoli 2 0.2
16 Laszlo Bodrogi 2 0.2
16 Joseba Beloki 2 0.2
16 George Hincapie 2 0.2
16 Eric Dekker 2 0.2
16 Alex Zulle 2 0.2
24 Zbigniew Spruch 1 0.1
24 Yaroslav Popovych 1 0.1
24 Xavier Otchoa 1 0.1
24 Vjatcheslav Ekimov 1 0.1
24 Vera Koedooder 1 0.1
24 Trent Lowe 1 0.1
24 Steve Peat 1 0.1
24 Sean Eadie 1 0.1
24 Raimondas Rumsas 1 0.1
24 Petra Rossner 1 0.1
24 Paolo Savoldelli 1 0.1
24 Michael Boogerd 1 0.1
24 Max van Heeswijk 1 0.1
24 Kurt Ashle Arvesen 1 0.1
24 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano 1 0.1
24 Giovanni Lombardi 1 0.1
24 Freddie Hoffman 1 0.1
24 Frank Vandenbroucke 1 0.1
24 Francesco Casagrande 1 0.1
24 Floyd Landis 1 0.1
24 Filip Meirhaeghe 1 0.1
24 Fabian Cancellara 1 0.1
24 DeDe Demet Barry 1 0.1
24 David Millar 1 0.1
24 Chris Hoy 1 0.1
24 Chechu Rubiera 1 0.1
24 Charles Dionne 1 0.1
24 Bartoli Michele 1 0.1
24 Baden Cooke 1 0.1
24 Anne-Caroline Chasson 1 0.1
24 Andy Jacques-Maynes 1 0.1
24 Andrea Tafi 1 0.1
24 Allison Dunlap 1 0.1