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Contador and Chavanel named Vélo d'Or 2008

By Jean-François Quénet

For the second year in a row, Alberto Contador has been named "Vélo d'Or" by an international panel of expert journalists selected by French monthly Vélo Magazine. The Spaniard took the honours with a comfortable margin over time trial Olympic champion and Milano-Sanremo winner Fabian Cancellara despite not taking part in the Tour de France.

A winner of both Tthe Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España, the Astana rider has collected exactly twice as more points as Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre. "In my mind, the Vélo d'Or is the world's best award since it comes from all the specialized cycling media," Contador commented. One year ago, Contador also preceded Cancellara but only by one point (49-48), now he seems to have convinced the observers much more significantly (72-47).

World's Vélo d'Or ranking:

1. Alberto Contador, 72 points
2. Fabian Cancellara, 47
3. Carlos Sastre, 36
4. Alejandro Valverde, 34
5. Mark Cavendish, 31
6. Alessandro Ballan, 21
7. Chris Hoy, 11
8. Damiano Cunego, 8
9. Tom Boonen, 6
10. Philippe Gilbert, 4

The French Vélo d'Or has seen Sylvain Chavanel beating by one point (100-99) Olympic mountainbike champion Julien Absalon, who had won the challenge for the past four years. Tour de France stage winner Cyril Dessel took third place.

Chavanel's seven wins in 2008 and his race aggressiveness caught the attention of the French press. "I believe my win at the Flèche Brabançonne was the most beautiful of them because I attacked alone from afar," Chavanel said. It has given him the ambition to target the Belgian Classics at the age of 30 with the Quick Step team he joins for the 2009 season.

French Vélo d'Or ranking:

1. Sylvain Chavanel, 100 points
2. Julien Absalon, 99
3. Cyril Dessel, 51
4. Mickaël Bourgain, 28
5. David Moncoutié, 20
6. Pierrick Fédrigo, 11
Jérôme Pineau, 11
8. Nicolas Vogondy, 6
9. Stéphane Augé, 5
10. Benoît Vaugrenard, 4