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Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
Van Winden best young rider and retiring Groenendaal also honoured
Robert Gesink of Rabobank and Marianne Vos of Team DSB Bank have been elected Cyclists of the Year in the Netherlands. Dennis van Winden of the Rabobank Continental Team was named best young rider.
The selections were made by the readers of Wielermagazine and the members of Club '48, an organisation of former riders.
Gesink, 23, won the award for the second year in a row, and was the 13th Rabobank rider since 1997 to take the title. The other nominees were teammate Lars Boom and Johnny Hoogerland of Vacansoleil.
Considered to be the best Dutch climber in the peloton, Gesink suffered greatly from crashes over the season. He had headed into the Tour de France with an eye to a high finishing position, but ended up dropping out within the first week He crashed with about 80 kilometres to go on stage five from Le Cap d'Agde to Perpignan. Despite a broken left wrist, he made his way to the finish, riding one-handed and virtually unable to break.
Events looked to tragically repeat themselves in the 17th stage of the Vuelta a España, when Gesink went down in a mass crash with some 57 kilometres left to go on the way from Ciudad Real to Talavera de la Reina. He once again finished the stage despite a serious cut in his left knee.
Gesink had been hanging on to second place overall, but the injury hampered his climbing ability too severely, and he fell back, ending the Vuelta as sixth overall. He ended the year with his only victory of the season, winning the Giro dell'Emilia.
Vos has proved herself to be an exceptional all-round talent, winning titles on the road and track and in cyclo-cross. In 2009 she gained the tiles of cyclo-cross World Champion and Dutch national road race Champion, while also winning La Fleche Wallonne Feminine for the third year in a row. She also finished second in the World road Championships. Most recently Vos, 22, won the World Cup 'cross race in Koksijde last weekend.
Rabobank scored another trophy as Dennis van Winden took home the Gerrie Knetemann Trophy for best young rider. The 21-year-old has already signed a contract with the ProTour team for the coming two seasons. Despite missing several weeks of the season due to illness, van Winden had five wins on the season, and won the Under-23 national time trial title.
A new trophy award this year was the Peter Post Prize, to be awarded to a retiring or recently retired rider. The first one was given to Richard Groenendaal, a cyclo-cross rider who retired this year after riding professionally since 1994. His palmares include the World Elite cyclo-cross title (2000/2001), the World junior cyclo-cross championship (1988/1989), and eight national cyclo-cross titles.
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The 2009 Cyclingnews reader poll
You can still enter the 2009 Cyclingnews reader poll and vote for your riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos of the year.
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