Congratulations to Fabian Cancellara, the Cyclingnews rider of the year for 2009, as voted by you our readers. Cancellara may have missed out on the male rider of the year award to Alberto Contador but the Swiss time trial specialist pipped runner-up Mark Cavendish by 168 votes and third-placed Contador by 750 votes to top this category.
"I'm really proud that the readers of cyclingnews.com voted me rider of the year. It is a big honour that dedicated cycling fans found that I deserved this title. 2009 was a really good year for me with victories in the World Chanpionships and Tour de Suisse. I hope that 2010 will be just as successful and I'm looking forward to races like Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders and the Tour de France," Fabian Cancellara said.
2009 was a roller coaster of a year for Cancellara. It started out with a winning performance in the Tour of California prologue before the rider was forced to quit the race the following day due to illness.
A mixture of bad luck and a lack of form destroyed his Classics campaign but he was back on track with a superb winning performance in the Tour de Suisse, prompting many to hypothesise that he could crack the top five at the Tour de France. Those musings turned out to be no more than poppycock, and despite a strong start to the Tour and winning the Monaco prologue, he was reduced back into team duties as early as the first mountain stage.
Come the Vuelta a España the 28-year-old Swiss was somewhere back to his best, winning both the prologue and first time trial before abandoning the race to train for the Worlds. And he saved his best performance of the year till last, winning the time trial world championship on home soil in Mendrisio, annihilating the opposition and putting on one of the greatest-ever time trial performances. Despite being one of the strongest riders in the road race he was a marked man and had to settle for fifth.
In total Cancellara won 12 races, the same number as in 2008 meaning he wasn't only impressive, but consistent too.
Cyclingnews reader poll results - Rider of the year
1. Fabian Cancellara: 3786
2. Mark Cavendish: 3618
3. Alberto Contador: 3036
4. Lance Armstrong: 1238
5. Cadel Evans: 860
6. Andy Schleck: 675
7. Philippe Gilbert: 426
8. Steve Peat: 162
9. Marianne Vos: 143
10. Alejandro Valverde: 126