2009 Reader Poll: Capturing triumph and tragedy in pictures

They say a picture paints a thousand words, and in the case of Denis Menchov at this year's Giro d'Italia, a thousand emotions must have been flying through the Russian's head when he hit the deck during the final time trial in Rome.

For this reason Cyclingnews readers voted this image, taken by experienced Italian lensman Roberto Bettini, the best of the year during what was a dramatic season full of colour and intrigue.

Menchov came into the final time trial in the historic Italian capital needing to maintain a slender lead over local favourite Danilo Di Luca; the Rabobank captain's dramatic fall in the final kilometre was notable not only for the tense finale it created but the immaculate bike change from his team mechanic Vincent Hendriks, who received a plethora of plaudits after the event.

The runner up in this category came from another Grand Tour, the Tour de France, and the final stage dominance of Mark Cavendish and teammate Mark Renshaw. Columbia-HTC's two Marks scored full marks for their efforts on the Champs Élyseés - Renshaw's leadout was phenomenal, the Australian taking the Manxman to the 200m marker and collecting second place whilst Cavendish claimed his sixth stage victory.

The image sums up the American team's dominance in sprints at this year's Tour, and although Cavendish didn't collect the maillot vert of best sprinter in Paris, his performances spoke greater volumes than any jersey could summate.

It was back to the Giro d'Italia for the bronze medal, according to our readers, as an image of the peloton climbing a snow-capped and cold-looking Passo Rolle got the nod for the bottom step of the dais. A picture courtesy of another long-time Italian snapper, Sirotti, it covers the stage won by Denis Menchov as he set up his overall victory in the event.

Below is a gallery of the finalists in our Pic of the Year category - ranked in the order you voted for them - showcasing the best professional cycling has to offer in a myriad of fantastic images. Enjoy!

2009 Cyclingnews Reader Poll - Best Photo - results

Denis Menchov hits the deck inside of the final kilometre of the concluding time trial in the Giro d'Italia: 2567
Columbia-HTC goes one-two with Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw on the final stage of the Tour de France: 2211
The peloton climbs Passo Rolle early in stage five of the Giro d'Italia: 1472
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) leads his team in the team time trial: 1423
Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) peers around Tom Boonen in the Arenberg forest in Paris-Roubaix: 1393
Cavendish beats Haussler to the line in Milano-Sanremo: 1261
Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and his shadow in action at Lombardia: 758
Frank Schleck wins stage 17 of the Tour: 722
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Slipstream) and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) lead the peloton over a climb in Eroica Toscana: 662
Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) celebrates his Tour de France stage six win in Barcelona: 569
Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) put in a strong attack on the climb to Andorre Arcalis: 551
Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) took his first Grand Tour win at the Vuelta: 264
Haimar Zubeldia (Astana) struggles on the Ventoux during the Dauphine: 166
Pierrick Fedrigo leads Franco Pellizotti in the Tour de France. The Frenchman beat the Italian in a sprint finish: 51

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