Each year French cycling publication, Vélo Magazine, awards what it considers the best performing rider of the season with the Vélo d'Or award (French for Golden bike). The annual award, which began in 1992, is widely considered to be the most prestigious individual award in cycling.
American seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong holds the record for the most number of Vélo d'Or awards, having taken the prize on five occasions as well as placing second twice. Up until last season when Paolo Bettini won the award, the winner of that year's Tour de France has always finished either first or second in the competition.
Each year 10 riders are nominated for the award before the final results are released. This year's competition is expected to be fierce, with Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) up against reigning world champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Innergetic) as well as Paris Roubaix winner Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC) and Milan-Sanremo winner Oscar Freire (Rabobank).
The 10 nominations for the 2007 award are: Tom Boonen (Quick-Step.Innergetic), Paolo Bettini (Quick-Step.Innergetic), Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel), Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital), Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) and Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital).