American team takes top honors in new poll category
Columbia-HTC's victory in the inaugural "Best Team" category of the 2009 Cyclingnews reader poll mimicked its dominance of the 2009 road season. The American team was judged an overwhelming winner with over 51 per cent the votes cast by 14,070 Cyclingnews readers.
Columbia-HTC's winning ways began just eight days into last year with Michael Rogers the first to chip in to the men's season total of 85 victories. His victory in the Australian time trial National Championship was a sign of things to come, with 14 of his colleagues to join him in the winners circle by season's end.
Despite the distribution of wins throughout the team, three names stood out above the rest. Mark Cavendish, André Greipel and Edvald Boasson Hagen's personal tallies each reached double figures and accounted for 55 of the total wins.
Cavendish and Greipel were particularly prolific. Cavendish's 23 triumphs included six Tour de France stage wins and three at the Giro d'Italia. Not to be outdone, Greipel's 21 wins stretched from January's Tour Down Under to October's Paris-Bourges, with four stage wins at the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a España.
The consistency of both sprinters' journeys to race podiums was also a clear indication of the team's strength as a whole. Cavendish's lead-out train at the Tour de France formed an almost daily demonstration of the team's efficiency, while team time trial wins at the Giro d'Italia and Tour de Romandie further displayed their enviable continuity.
Boasson Hagen is likely to be sorely missed as he starts a new chapter in his career at Team Sky this season. In the last of his two seasons with Columbia, the 22-year-old snatched 11 wins, including Belgian semi-Classic Gent-Wevelgem, and overall victories at the Tours of Benelux and Britain.
Columbia-HTC's women's team added a further 46 wins to the team's overall total. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (24), Linda Villumsen and Judith Arndt were responsible for the lion's share of the wins, accounting for 15, seven and four, respectively.
With around a third of the votes of Columbia, Astana finished second in the reader poll. Despite the respective first and third overall at the Tour de France through Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong, the Kazakh team could not match the consistency of their US-based rivals.
Garmin-Slipstream narrowly edged out Saxo Bank and impressive debutants, Cervélo TestTeam, for third place.
Cyclingnews reader poll results - Best Team (new category for 2009)
1. Columbia-HTC: 7228
2. Astana: 2418
3. Garmin-Slipstream: 1389
4. Team Saxo Bank: 1368
5. Cervelo TestTeam: 1268
6. Liquigas: 126
7. Quick Step: 110
8. Caisse d'Epargne: 77
9. Silence - Lotto: 47
10. Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni - Androni Giocattoli: 39
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews to discover the winner of the Argon 18 Krypton, complete with SRAM Red groupset, Fast Forward F4R Clinchers, RavX bar, stem and seatpost, Speedplay Zero Cro-moly pedals and carbon bottle cages, which will be announced later in the week.
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