After taking part in the criterium of Oviedo in the Asturias on Saturday evening and the criterium of Alcobendas on Sunday morning, Alberto Contador flew to Paris to receive the Vélo d'Or. The presentation was broadcast live on France Télévisions for the first time since the inception of the trophy, awarded by French monthly Vélo Magazine since 1992.
"I was happy to pay this trip to Paris because this is a popular television show and it remains a great honour to receive the Vélo d'Or," said Contador, who was the recipient of the trophy for the third time in a row. He was congratulated by compatriot and two-time winner, Miguel Indurain.
"It's something incredible to win it three times," he continued. "There are many awards after the cycling season but this one has a great name. It was probably this year's Tour de France that has seen me become the winner this year."
In the minds of the jury however, Contador is also a man who won 11 races this season, not only the Tour de France. Contador tallied the most votes in a ballot by respected journalists from 15 different countries. Mark Cavendish and Fabian Cancellara were second and third, respectively.
With the next issue of Vélo Magazine to carry the headline, "Armstrong made me popular", Contador today acknowledged the influence of the seven-time Tour winner's presence in the peloton. "Our rivalry and conflict have given my win at the Tour de France a worldwide impact," he said this afternoon.
Contador also admitted that he will not take part in the Giro d'Italia in 2010. "I will pretty much only think of the Tour de France for next year," he said. A change in his programme could see him ride the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, "but it's difficult for me to make a plan until I know which team I will ride for," he said.
"It seems like I will have the opportunity to change teams. I want to have a team that is 100 percent behind me. Caisse d'Epargne is the biggest option I have. There's a huge interest from them, but it's not easy to come to an agreement."
Track cyclist Grégory Baugé who is the world champion for individual and team sprint events was awarded the French Vélo d'Or as he beat out Pierrick Fedrigo by only one vote.
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