2009 Reader Poll: Wiggins tops most improved

Garmin 1-2's category for up and comers

For the second year in a row, the Tour de France performance of a Garmin-Slipstream team rider has topped the most improved category, and with good reason. Bradley Wiggins's remarkable fourth overall in the Tour this year earned him the most votes by our readers. In 2008, it was Christian Vande Velde who defied all predictions to finish fourth overall (after Bernhard Kohl's disqualification for doping) and win the prize for most improved.

Wiggins was well-known as a strong time trialist, but with a focus on trimming off almost every ounce of fat from his body, the nearly skeletal remains of the two-time Olympic pursuit champion turned into a tenacious climber able to hang tough with all except Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.

Second place in the category went to Wiggins's teammate Tyler Farrar, who finally claimed the first Grand Tour stage win of his career in the Vuelta a España's 11th stage.

Farrar took his first win of the year in the Delta Tour Zeeland in the Netherlands by claiming the prologue and hanging on for the overall win. His Tour de France was an exercise in frustration as he was never able to get the better of Mark Cavendish.

However, the 25-year-old American bounced back to win the Vattenfall Cyclassics and three stages of the Eneco Tour. Farrar's success continued at the Vuelta where he claimed one stage followed by the overall win at the Circuit Franco-Belge.

Third place went to Heinrich Haussler, the sensation of the Spring Classics who not only gave Milano-Sanremo a nearly successful go, but also placed second in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. The Cervélo TestTeam rider finally got his big win of the year with an emotional victory in the 13th stage of the Tour de France at Colmar.

Cyclingnews reader poll results - Most improved rider

1. Bradley Wiggins: 6312
2. Tyler Farrar: 2526
3. Heinrich Haussler: 2068
4. Edvald Boasson Hagen: 1511
5. Philippe Gilbert: 572
6. Tony Martin: 302
7. Robert Gesink: 278
8. Andre Greipel: 215
9. Emma Pooley: 150
10. Nino Schurter: 136

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