Thor Hushovd has been named as Norway's athlete of the year. The nation's sports journalists voted to give the world champion their top honour for his world road race title.
The 32-year-old won only four races in the 2010 season while riding for the the Cervelo TestTeam, but they were all top major races, starting with the Norwegian national road championship in June.
He then went on to win one of the most dramatic stages of this year's Tour, the third stage from Wanze to Arenberg Port du Hainaut over the Belgian cobblestones. He was fortunately enough to escape the many crashes during the stage and outsprinted a group of six, which included Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck and Fabian Cancellara.
His second Grand Tour stage win of the season came in stage six of the Vuelta a Espana, in early September. He made it over a category two-ranked climb near the finish and then won the sprint contested by a reduced peloton to secure the third Vuelta victory of his career.
The crowning glory of his year came in early October in Geelong, when he dominated the sprint to win the world road race title and pull on the rainbow jersey.
“It’s hard to understand that I’ve won the Worlds. It’s a dream. I’m speechless,” he said at the time.
The Norwegian athlete of the year title has been awarded annually since 1948. The only previous cyclist to have won was Knut Knutsen in 1972 and 1973. The all-time winner is marathon runner Grete Waitz, who won four times, with skiers usually dominating the vote.
Hushovd dominated the competition with 122.2 points ahead of cross-country skiier Marit Bjørgen (53 points), who won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze at the winter Olympics in Vancouver. No other athlete received more than 11 points.