Thor Hushovd is the 2011 recipient of the Trophée AIJC, the annual prize awarded by the Association of International Cycling Journalists to a rider or cycling personality deemed to be particularly open to the press. He was presented with the award at a luncheon in Erps-Kwerps, Belgium on Monday.
“Humanly speaking, this prize has a great value, I’m very proud of it,” Hushovd told dhnet.be.
Hushovd wore the rainbow jersey with distinction throughout the season, especially at the Tour de France, where he took two stage victories and enjoyed a week-long spell as overall leader. After riding for Garmin-Cervelo in 2011, Hushovd will join Cadel Evans and Philippe Gilbert at BMC next year.
The Norwegian secured 147 votes, just one more than second-placed Thomas Voeckler. The other nominees were Mark Cavendish, Alberto Contador, Tom Boonen, Bradley Wiggins and Fränk and Andy Schleck.
“We’re honouring a champion who, in spite of an extremely busy schedule and numerous obligations, honours his profession by being particularly accessible to journalists,” AIJC president Gilles Le Roc’h said.
The AIJC award was inaugurated in 2008, and a rider can only be honoured once during his career. Preceding Hushovd on the role of honour are Paolo Bettini (2008), Philippe Gilbert (2009) and Fabian Cancellara (2010).