More than 20,000 votes were cast by Cyclingnews.com readers in a poll to find the ‘Rider of the Year’.
Belgian sportsman Philippe Gilbert won the accolade in the poll, which honours the world’s very best riders, teams, races, moments and equipment of the past 12 months.
Gilbert emerged as the clear winner, securing over 11,000 votes and beating Cadel Evans and Mark Cavendish to the top spot.
Cyclingnews.com has been running its annual reader-voted awards for the past decade, with previous Rider of the Year accolades going to Lance Armstrong and Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara.
Philippe Gilbert said: “First of all thanks to all of the team, my teammates, and to everybody involved. It’s a good prize and I’m very happy to have it! I’ve had a lot of nice successes this year.”
Other high profile winners of 2011 include Britain’s Danny Hart, recognised as Best Male Mountain Biker. Marianne Vos from the Netherlands scooped Best Female Road Rider for her outstanding performance, whilst Best Track Female went to Victoria Pendleton. Best Team was awarded to Mark Cavendish’s team, HTC-Highroad, for their exceptional performance throughout the year and their many wins since the team’s 2008 inception.
In a special award the Cyclingnews team gave the Legend of Cycling award to the late Wouter Weylandt and Xavier Tondo after their tragic deaths earlier this year.
Cyclingnews.com editor Daniel Benson commented: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to our poll this year. Our annual awards give our readers the chance to say what they think about the year’s professional races and riders – from the Tour de France to the Giro d’Italia – and the awards are a great way to celebrate another fantastic year in cycling.”