2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador honoured with the "Vélo d'Or", a yearly prize awarded by 18 international cycling journalists and initiated by the French Vélo Magazine. The Spaniard, who also won Paris-Nice this season, succeeded to Paolo Bettini who won the 2006 trophy.
"Its a great honour to be the second Spanish rider to receive this award after Miguel Indurain [in 1992 and 1993 - ed.]," commented Contador, who won by just one vote over Swiss time trial world champ Fabian Cancellara, Double road world champion Paolo Bettini came third with just one vote less than Cancellara.
The French Vélo d'Or has been awarded for the fourth consecutive time to Julien Absalon, four times world mountain bike champion. Christophe Moreau (Ag2r Prévoyance) and Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) came second and third.
Sprint d'Or not awarded
Journalists of L'Equipe had this year decided not to cast their vote for the Vélo d'Or because of the doping affairs that tainted the season. Furthermore, in Belgium, the most important cycling award of the French-speaking community, the Sprint d'Or, will not be handed out.
"This year, there is very little to celebrate," said the editor in chief of the Belgium public television RTBF, which has been granting the prize since 1995. "If cycling starts to clean up in front of its own door, then we can make a new start."