Chris Froome has followed in the footsteps of Team Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins by winning the Vélo d’Or award for 2013. The prize is awarded by French cycling magazine Vélo via a poll of international journalists.
Froome was an obvious candidate for the accolade after a season that saw him claim the Tour de France, Tour of Oman, Tour de Romandie, Critérium International and Critérium du Dauphiné. Remarkably, the 28-year-old had never won a major stage race before the start of this season, but he adapted quickly to his role as leader of the powerful Sky team after finishing second behind Wiggins in the 2012 Tour de France.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who inflicted a rare defeat on Froome at Tirreno-Adriatico, finished second in the poll. The Sicilian was a dominant winner of the Giro d’Italia, finished second overall at the Vuelta a España and was prominent at the world championships road race in Florence.
Froome is still in Japan after winning the Saitama Criterium organised by ASO but told the Team Sky website the award capped his successful season.
"To win an award as significant as this is a fantastic way to cap an incredible season. I was fortunate enough to win the International Flandrien trophy a few weeks ago and to win this one as well is really satisfying," he said.
"I'd like to thank all the people who voted for me, and while it's nice to be recognised for my achievements, my team-mates deserve credit as well because I couldn't have achieved what I've achieved this year without them."
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) pipped 2010 Vélo d’Or winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) to third place, in spite of Cancellara’s fine run of spring form that saw him beat Sagan at both E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders, as well as claim a third Paris-Roubaix victory.
Newly-crowned world champion Rui Costa (Movistar) finished fifth in the poll, while world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) were a joint sixth.
Quintana, who finished second overall at the Tour de France and won the Tour of the Basque Country and Vuelta a Burgos, won the Vélo d’Or Espoirs, for the best rider under the age of 25. The Colombian beat Sagan, who won in 2011 and 2012, and Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) to the prize.
Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale) won the Vélo d’Or for best French rider, thanks largely to his Tour de France showing, where he claimed the home nation’s sole stage victory atop Alpe d’Huez and won the red dossard for most combative rider.
The Vélo d’Or was inaugurated in 1992, with Miguel Indurain the first winner. Froome’s victory is the 13th time that the Tour de France winner has topped the poll, although last year, Vélo Magazine announced that it had rescinded Lance Armstrong’s five Vélos d’Or. As a result, Alberto Contador – winner in 2007, 2008 and 2009 – hold the record for most Vélo d’Or wins.
Vélo d’Or 2013:
1 Chris Froome (Sky)
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
3 Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
4 Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard)
5 Rui Costa (Movistar)
6 Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
8 Marcl Kittel (Argos-Shimano)
9 Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard)
10 Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha)
Froome talked to Cyclingnews about his hopes and ambitions for the 2014 Tour de France after the route presentation in Paris.
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