“Vélo d’Or” is an award given annually to the cyclist considered to have performed the best over the year. Here is a gallery of Vélo d’Or winners from 2000 to 2009.

Lance Armstrong (2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, now annulled)

Vélo d'Or winners (2000-2009): Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong duel on Mont Ventoux, Tour de France 2000
Lance Armstrong (USA): winner in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004; 2nd in 2002 and 2005; 3rd in 1998.
Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong duel on Mont Ventoux, Tour de France 2000 Stage 12. Photo courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/placid_casual/2706838428/

In 2000, Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France, including the first TT stage. It was the second of his seven consecutive Tour wins. He also won the Grand Prix des Nations (an individual time trial that held annually in Cannes, France between 1932 and 2004, often regarded as the unofficial time trial championship of the world), Grand Prix Eddy Merckx, and took the Bronze medal in the Time trial event at Olympic Games in Athens.

In 2001, he won the Tour de France (including four stages) and the Tour de Suisse (including two stages).

In 2003, he was again victorious at the Tour de France (his fifth consecutive victory, he also won two stages). He was also victorious at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (now Critérium du Dauphiné).

In 2004, he won his sixth Tour de France title (a feat that no other cyclist has been able to achieve to date) including six stage wins. He also won the Tour de Georgia and the Profronde van Stiphout, an elite men’s and women’s professional road bicycle racing event held annually in Stiphout, the Netherlands between 1980 and 2014.

Armstrong ‘s all results from August 1998 onward, including seven Tour de France titles are voided by the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency).

Mario Cipollini (2002)

Vélo d'Or winners: Mario Cipollini (2002)
Mario Cipollini (Italy) – 2002 winner of the Vélo d’Or

In 2002, Mario Cipollini won the Gent-Wevelgem, Milan-San Remo, Giro d’Italia points classification (including 6 stages), and became the UCI World champion.

Tom Boonen (2005)

Vélo d'Or winners: Tom Boonen wins Paris-Roubaix 2005
Tom Boonen wins Paris-Roubaix 2005

In 2005, Tom Boonen won the Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen), Paris-Roubaix and became the UCI World Champion.

He also won the Tour of Belgium (overall and points classifications), E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, and two stages in both the Tour de France and the Paris-Nice.

As of 2019, only 12 riders won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the same year:

Rider / Country / Year

Henri Suter / Switzerland / 1923
Romain Gijssels / Belgium / 1932
Gaston Rebry / Belgium / 1934
Raymond Impanis / Belgium / 1954
Fred De Bruyne / Belgium / 1957
Rik Van Looy / Belgium / 1962
Roger De Vlaeminck / Belgium / 1977
Peter van Petegem / Belgium / 2003
Tom Boonen / Belgium / 2005
Fabian Cancellara / Switzerland / 2010
Tom Boonen (2) / Belgium / 2012
Fabian Cancellara (2) / Switzerland / 2013

Paolo Bettini (2006)

Vélo d'Or winners (2000-2009): Paolo Bettini
Paolo Bettini (Italy): Vélo d’Or winner in 2006; 2nd in 2003; 3rd in 2002 and 2007

In 2006, Paolo Bettini won the first race of the season, the Trofeo Soller, which is part of the Challenge Mallorca (a series of four – 5 until 2012 – professional one-day road bicycle races held on the Spanish island of Mallorca in late January or early February).

He also won the Gran Premio di Lugano, two stages in the Tirreno-Adriatico and the 15th stage in the Giro d’Italia, where he won the points classification. Following the Giro, he became the Italian road champion and won a stage at the Vuelta a España before winning the UCI world championship.

Alberto Contador (2007, 2008, 2009)

Vélo d'Or winners (2000-2009): Alberto Contador at 2007 Tour de France
Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) wearing the yellow jersey during the 2007 Tour de France. He won the Vélo d’Or four times: in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2014.

Alberto Contador’s first major professional victory came with the 2007 Paris-Nice, which he won on the race’s final stage. His team Discovery effectively wore down the remnants of the race leader Davide Rebellin’s Gerolsteiner team, allowing Contador to launch an attack on the final climb. With Rebellin leading the chase, Contador held off his competitors in the final kilometers, winning him the race.

In the 2007 Tour de France, Contador won a stage at the mountaintop finish of Plateau-de-Beille and was second in the general classification to Michael Rasmussen. Upon Rasmussen’s removal from the race before stage 17 for lying to his team about his pre-race training whereabouts, Contador assumed the overall lead and the yellow jersey, though he did not don it until after the stage.

In stage 19 individual time trial, he managed to defy expectations and keep hold of the yellow jersey by a margin of only 23 seconds over challenger Cadel Evans and 31 seconds over teammate Levi Leipheimer. As this was the Tour’s penultimate stage, it was the last real competition of the race (since the final stage is traditionally non-competitive save for a bunched sprint to the finish line) and it secured Contador his first Tour de France victory. It is the closest the top three finishers in the Tour de France have ever finished to one another.

Contador moved to the Astana team for 2008. However, the organizer of the Tour de France, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), announced that Astana would not be invited to any of their events in 2008 due to the doping previously perpetrated by Astana, despite the fact that its management and most of its ridership had changed before the 2008 season.

Consequently, Contador was unable to defend his 2007 Paris-Nice and 2007 Tour de France victories. He went on to win his second Vuelta a Castilla y León, as well as the Tour of the Basque Country by winning the opening stage and the final individual time trial.

His next scheduled race and objective was the Dauphiné Libéré but his team received an invite to the 2008 Giro d’Italia one week prior to the start of the race. Contador was on a beach in Spain when he was told he was going to ride the Giro.

Despite the lack of preparation, he finished second in the first individual time trial and took the pink jersey after the 15th stage up to Passo Fedaia. Upon winning the final pink jersey in Milan, he became the first non-Italian to win the Giro d’Italia since Pavel Tonkov in 1996 and also the second Spanish rider to win the Giro after Miguel Indurain won in 1992 and 1993.

Contador later emphasized the importance of this win by saying that “taking part in the Giro and winning it was a really big achievement, bigger than if I’d had a second victory in the Tour de France”.

Contador also won the Vuelta a España in 2008. That win made him the fifth cyclist to win all three Grand Tours, after Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx, and Bernard Hinault

In the process, he also became the first Spaniard, the youngest (age 25), and he accumulated all these three grand tours wins in the shortest amount of time (15 months). He also became only the third cyclist to win the Giro and the Vuelta in the same year, joining Eddy Merckx (who did it in 1973) and Giovanni Battaglin (who did it in 1981).

Vélo d'Or winners (2000-2009): Contador and Schleck at the 2009 Tour de France.
Alberto Contador wearing the yellow jersey leading Andy Schleck at the 2009 Tour de France.

Contador started his 2009 season at the Volta ao Algarve race in Portugal, winning the overall classification, placing second on stage 3, and winning the decisive 33 km individual time trial. Then he won national TT title, his first National Championship as a professional.

He won his second Tour de France on 26 July 2009 with a winning margin of 4’11” over Andy Schleck. He finished 5’24” ahead of his teammate and rival Lance Armstrong, who finished third in his return to the Tour after a three-year absence.

Contador also won Tour of the Basque Country and RaboRonde Heerlen in 2009.

Sources

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