Italian Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has been named cyclist of the year for 2003 by a panel of readers of the sporting newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Italian sprinter was favored by 31.7 percent of the 5527 people consulted on the Milanese daily newspaper’s website.
Petacchi beat out compatriot Paolo Bettini, who garnered 23 percent of the votes, and American Lance Armstrong, who drew 19.3 percent. German Jan Ullrich got only 6.2 percent, while Italian Gilberto Simoni polled just 5.1 percent.
Petacchi, who will celebrate his 30th birthday on January 3, won 24 times this season, including six stages of the Giro d’Italia, four stages of the Tour de France and five stages of the Vuelta a España. He was ranked third in the world by the UCI, behind Bettini and the German Erik Zabel.
Petacchi told the newspaper that he believed he was the readers’ choice because “people wanted to reward my victories in the three large tours.” –Copyright 2003/AFP