2002 Roadcycling.com Cycling Awards
The balloting for the 2002 Roadcycling awards has concluded. The winner of the Most Courageous Performance competition was Tyler Hamilton. The man from Marblehead broke his shoulder in Stage 5 of the Giro but persevered to win Stage 14 of that race and to finish second overall. Santiago Botero, who battled through the Vuelta with the flu before winning the 16th stage of that race, finished second. Botero went on to win the World Championships time trial. Alex Zulle got an honorable mention for winning seven races, including the Tour de Suisse and two stages of the Tour de Romandie, after winning nothing for two years.
Lance Armstrong's fourth consecutive Tour de France victory was the Performance of the Year. The Texan beat Joseba Beloki by 7:17, winning four stages in the process. Armstrong's victory broke the record that he and Greg Lemond had shared for the greatest number of Tour victories by an American and sets up the man from Austin's attempt to become a five-time Tour winner.
Lance Armstrong got more competition in the Rider of the Year balloting, but he took this honor as well. Armstrong's victories at the Tour de France, the Midi Libre, and the Dauphine Libere impressed the voters more than Mario Cipollini's wins at Milan-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem, the Giro, the Vuelta, and the World Championship. One voter called the Texan "the most complete sports person of all sports," while another referred to Armstrong as "by far the best." Clearly, Armstrong's achievements meant more to the voters than did those of others.
Frank Vandenbroucke's excuse took the Stupidest Excuse prize. The Belgian's claim that the performance-enhancing substances found in his home by police were for his dog pipped Edith Rumsas's contention that the drugs found in her car were for her mother. The Stupidest Excuse category had a number of contenders who received substantial numbers of votes. David Millar's dropping out of the Vuelta at the finish at Angliru and declaring that the stage was too hard was one. Gilberto Simoni's laugher about having received cocaine at a dentist or in candy was another. It seems to the voters and to the riders--not to mention this writer--that no excuse is too bizarre to try if one is attempting to stay out of trouble.
Frank Vandenbroucke and Jan Ullrich got the same number of votes and shared the Stupidest Rider award. Vandenbroucke's foolishness was noted above, and Ullrich got his booby prize for taking amphetamines recreationally because he was depressed about his knee injury. The resulting suspension ended his season. Francesco Casagrande took a strong third place for decking John Freddy Garcia and getting tossed out of the Giro d'Italia. Vandenbroucke, Ullrich, and Casagrande have earned recognition for having more talent than judgment.
The winners of the 2002 Roadcycling.com Cycling Awards giveaway are:
Giro Pneumo helmet and helmet pod
Won by: Carl Beyer
Rudy Project Ekynox glasses
Won by: Mick McLaughlin
Giro T-shirt and hat plus Roadcycling.com mug
Won by: Jon Durham
Congratulations to them and take note of the accomplishments and stupidities of 2003!