For the second time in four years, Italian Paolo Bettini has been awarded the title of 'Flandrian of the Year' by the readers of Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. Although not Belgian himself, the 32 year-old won ten races this season, which culminated with wins in the World Championships in Salzburg and the Giro di Lombardia. His Quick.Step teammate Tom Boonen, who had won the award for the last two years, ended up second in the rating, with 5,118 points against the Italian's 5,722.
"I had expected that Bettini would make it," Boonen told Sporza. "The end of the season always sticks in people's memories most. Bravo to Bettini!" Far behind the two in the ranking were Alexandre Vinokourov (553 points), Alejandro Valverde (481), and Fabian Cancellara (322) - third, fourth and fifth in that order. The five cyclists had previously been chosen by a panel of experts, including Lucien Van Impe.