For Fabian Cancellara, 2010 was the year of the double. His twin victories at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in April set the tone for his stunning season form, and the Swiss rider book-ended his year by adding the Best Rider of the Year title to his Male Road Rider of the Year crown in the Cyclingnews annual reader poll.
As was the case in that dominant display over the cobbles to Roubaix, Cancellara’s margin of victory was striking. The four-time world time trial champion racked up a mammoth 58% of the votes cast by readers to beat Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) into a distant second place.
“It’s a nice new victory for the season,” Cancellara said on hearing of his latest honour. “Also Cyclingnews has a pool of lot of fans who are into cycling from all over the world, so it’s a nice award.”
Cancellara’s roll of honour for 2010 makes intimidating reading in and of itself – three major one-day victories (E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke came before his wins in Flanders and Roubaix), two Tour de France stage wins, six days in the yellow jersey and a fourth rainbow jersey in the time trial. Those stark figures alone would surely have been enough for the Swiss to top the poll, but it was perhaps the remarkable nature of some of those wins that ultimately saw him so dominate the voting.
While acknowledging that the quality of his wins made an impression on voters, Cancellara also believes that his willingness to work for Andy Schleck in July won him some additional admirers among Cyclingnews readers.
“I think there are three or four reasons [for the win],” he said. “There was the spring, and then the Worlds and then what I did in the Tour de France with the yellow jersey and the way I helped Andy in the race.”
Cancellara was a news maker from start to finish in 2010. His dominance on the cobblestones in April was such that the UCI began screening bikes for hidden motors by the time the Tour de France came around, while his protracted departure from Saxo Bank to Leopard Trek filled acres of news print in the second half of the season. It was on the bike that Cancellara made his most lasting impression on 2010, however, to such an extent that he is unwilling to single out one moment over all others.
“I think the whole year was just amazing for me and I was constant all year, even when I wasn’t on form at the end of the year I managed to do well,” he said. “It’s been a really nice season. I can’t really pick one highlight.”
Philippe Gilbert’s fine season was enough to secure him second place in the poll, ahead of Andy Schleck and Mark Cavendish. Emma Pooley, who topped the Cyclingnews reader poll for Best Female Road Rider, was seventh in the overall Best Rider poll, with Marianne Vos finishing ninth.
Cyclingnews Reader Poll results – Best rider of the year
Fabian Cancellara, 9697 votes (57.8%)
Philippe Gilbert, 2260 (13.5%)
Andy Schleck, 1761 (10.5%)
Mark Cavendish, 1020 (6.1%)
Vincenzo Nibali ,821 (4.9%)
Ivan Basso, 378 (2.3%)
Emma Pooley, 358 (2.1%)
Joaquim Rodriguez, 283 (1.7%)
Marianne Vos, 209 (1.2%)