Created in 1992 by the French cycling magazine Vélo, the “Vélo d’Or” award is given annually to the cyclist considered to have performed the best over the year. An international jury consists of top cycling journalists votes on which rider was top across the season.

Vélo d’Or means the “golden bicycle” in English. It is the cycling equivalent of the FIFA’s Ballon d’Or (“Golden Ball”), an annual association football award presented to the world’s best men’s player from 2010 to 2015.

There’s no separate category for women cyclists. But, for example, in 2019, the Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten was fifth after her top season marked by her solo victory for the UCI World Road Race Championships title (Vleuten is a complete cyclist – previously, she won the UCI World Time Trial Championships twice in 2017 and 2018).

Related: Gallery of Vélo d’Or winners

Complete Vélo d’Or winners

Year, winner (country), second (country) third (country)

1992, Miguel Indurain (ESP), Tony Rominger (SUI), Claudio Chiappucci (ITA)
1993, Miguel Indurain (ESP) (2), Maurizio Fondriest (ITA), Tony Rominger (SUI)
1994, Tony Rominger (SUI), Miguel Indurain (ESP), Eugeni Berzin (RUS)
1995, Laurent Jalabert (FRA), Miguel Indurain (ESP), Abraham Olano (ESP)
1996, Johan Museeuw (BEL), Bjarne Riis (DEN), Alex Zülle (SUI)
1997, Jan Ullrich (GER), Laurent Jalabert (FRA), Marco Pantani (ITA)
1998, Marco Pantani (ITA), Michele Bartoli (ITA), Lance Armstrong (USA)
1999, Lance Armstrong (USA), Jan Ullrich (GER), Andrei Tchmil (BEL)

2000, Lance Armstrong (USA), Erik Zabel (GER), Jan Ullrich (GER)
2001, Lance Armstrong (USA), Erik Zabel (GER), Erik Dekker (NED)
2002, Mario Cipollini (ITA), Lance Armstrong (USA), Paolo Bettini (ITA)
2003, Lance Armstrong (USA), Paolo Bettini (ITA), Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ)
2004, Lance Armstrong (USA), Damiano Cunego (ITA), Óscar Freire (ESP)
2005, Tom Boonen (BEL), Lance Armstrong (USA), Danilo Di Luca (ITA)
2006, Paolo Bettini (ITA), Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
2007, Alberto Contador (ESP), Fabian Cancellara (SUI), Paolo Bettini (ITA)
2008, Alberto Contador (ESP) (2), Fabian Cancellara (SUI), Carlos Sastre (ESP)
2009, Alberto Contador (ESP) (3), Mark Cavendish (GBR), Fabian Cancellara SUI)
2010, Fabian Cancellara (SUI), Alberto Contador (ESP), Andy Schleck (LUX)

2011, Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Mark Cavendish (GBR)
2012, Bradley Wiggins (GBR), Tom Boonen (BEL), Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP)
2013, Chris Froome (GBR), Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Peter Sagan (SVK)
2014, Alberto Contador (ESP) (4), Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
2015, Chris Froome (GBR) (2), Peter Sagan (SVK), Fabio Aru (ITA)
2016, Peter Sagan (SVK), Chris Froome (GBR), Nairo Quintana (COL)
2017, Chris Froome (GBR) (3), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Peter Sagan (SVK)
2018, Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Geraint Thomas (GBR), Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
2019, Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Egan Bernal (COL), Primož Roglič (SLO)

Vélo d’Or most winners

Most Vélo d'Or winners: Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong at the 2009 Tour de France
As of 2019, Alberto Contador holds the record of winning the Vélo d’Or award four times. Originally, Lance Armstrong won five times, but his results were annulled after USADA stripped him of his Tour victories.
Photo: Alberto Contador (Astana) and his teammate/rival Lance Armstrong on Mont Ventoux climb during the 2009 Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong won the Vélo d’Or five times, but his results were annulled after USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) stripped him of his Tour victories due to doping.

Spanish rider Alberto Contador holds the record of winning the prestigious award four times, as of 2019. He won the award in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2014.

Chris Froome won the award three times, in 2013, 2015, and 2017.

Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain won the award twice, in 1992 and 1993.

As of 2019, Contador, Froome, and Indurain are the only multiple-winners of the Vélo d’Or.

Vélo d'Or - Miguel Indurain
The first two Vélo d’Or prizes were won by Miguel Indurain (Spain): “big mig” was 1st in 1992 and 1993, and 2nd in 1994 and 1995.
Vélo d'Or - Chris Froome at Tour de France 2013
Chris Froome won Vélo d’Or three times – in 2013, 2015, and 2017. The photo above is from the Tour de France 2013, the 100th edition of the race, which Chris Froome has won.

Sources

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