Contador beats Nibali and Valverde to win Vélo d’Or competition
Although he didn’t achieve his goal of winning the Tour de France, Alberto Contador has been named the recipient of the prestigious Vélo d’Or award for 2014 by the French Vélo magazine.
The Spanish Tinkoff Saxo rider received 66 points in the voting, eight points ahead of the 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and a cool 28 up on the third-placed rider, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Contador’s dominance in the vote comes despite him losing out on the WorldTour title to Valverde, a contest which is often used as a measure of consistency. However while Valverde took that triumph by virtue of a steady stream of results throughout the year, Contador’s peaks were higher.
He started off his season with a stage win and second overall in the Volta ao Algarve. He went on to take two consecutive stages plus the overall title in Tirreno-Adriatico, clocked up second overall in the Volta a Catalunya and then landed a stage and the general classification in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
His run continued with a strong performance in the Critérium du Dauphiné, although he was caught out by a surprise long-range attack by Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) on the final day of the French event and was bumped out of the yellow jersey.
Contador likely would have held on had he had greater team support, but still finished as runner-up.
His big season goal of the Tour de France was derailed on stage ten to La Planche des Belles Filles when he crashed hard and fractured his tibia. He was able to recover far faster than expected from that and returned to competition in the Vuelta a España, where he won two mountain stages plus the overall classification.
It was his third GC win in the race and the sixth Grand Tour success of his career.
Fourth place in the Vélo d’Or went to the 2013 Tour runner-up and 2014 Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar), while world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma QuickStep) ended up fifth. They amassed 33 and 30 points respectively.
Tour de France runner-up Jean-Christophe Peraud won the Vélo d’Or Français for French riders. World road race champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot was second.
1, Alberto Contador (ESP/TInkoff) 66 pts
2, Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/Astana) 58 pts
3, Alejandro Valverde (ESP/Movistar) 38 pts
4, Nairo Quintana (COL/Movistar) 33 pts
5, Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/Omega Pharma) 30 pts
Vélo d’Or Français:
1, Jean-Christophe Peraud
2, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
3, François Pervis
4, Thibaut Pinot
5, Julien Absalon