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PEZ AWARDS: Best Ride of 2003!
The PEZ Worldwide HQ is frozen in by subzero temps and ice everywhere. What better time to look back at 2003’s BEST RIDES! Our usually verbose Pez-Crew had no shortage of nominations for this year’s awards, but you Readers must decide the final outcome – be sure to cast your vote in SURVEY SAYS!


The Nominations for BEST RIDE OF 2003 are:



GRAHAM:
Hard to choose! Tyler Hamilton, Stage 16 TdF. Almost every long escape in the Tour was caught before the line. In Tyler’s case he took on the toughest mountain stage of the race and stayed away for about 90mls.

He was on fire right from his first race (Paris-Nice) and kept it going until his unfortunate crash in the Tour of Holland. Looking just at the Tour, Lance won it with questionable form but a superb team. Meanwhile Tyler rides through a fractured clavicle, provides the power in the TTT, wins an incredibly hard stage, gets second in the final TT (beating Lance and Jan) and ends up with a fourth spot on GC.



Which is the more meritorious ride?
Looking at the whole season I think that Vinokourov, Mayo, Bettini and Hamilton were the top dogs. Lance has brand recognition (outside cycling) but to the aficionado’s he was not #1 this year.
Knowing Tyler, I will bet that next season will be another scorcher assuming that he can remain upright! He should take the Tour either this coming year or next.

Still with Tyler, maybe an equal effort was his LBL win which made him the first North American (and probably the first non-European) to win one of the five “monuments”. The following week he then capped this win with his Romandie win.






GORDON:
Vino’ inspired to victory at Paris-Nice. Keeping his head and emotions in check to commemorate Kivilev.

Heras in the final TT at the Vuelta.

PVP dishes it out at Flanders and repeats the dose at Paris-Roubaix.

Tyler’s entire season.

Some American guy winning the Tour again ……… he’s getting to be pretty decent rider these days. Needs a bit more experience for the Classics though.




MICHELE:
Bettini at San Sebastian. A good example of be at top and make the race.





DUNCAN:
Hamilton’s whole Tour but especially the great stage win.
Ullrich’s TT win was just awesome but I think I will go for Mayo’s
Alpe d’Huez win which got a bit over looked but was masterfull!





JERED:
Marco Pantani on the Zoncolan, what an amazing day. Washed up, old, not what he once was? Did you see him those final 5 km on the Zoncolan? He suffered like a dog, he hurt, he looked human, and that my friends, means a lot more than routinely destroying the field with the mere twitch of a pedal.

Armstrong of course, Luz Ardiden was quite the enthralling experience.

Heras’ uphill TT performance at the Vuelta, that goes somewhere near Armstrong and Ullrich, Lemond and Fignon if you ask me. Perfect clutch performance, that was near trademark Michael Jordan. :)

Mark McCormack for the second half of his season, brilliance. US Pro’s and T-Mobile stand out.

The Saturn Trio of Terror — Horner, O’Neill, and Danielson, especially the last stage of Redlands, where they put, what, 12 minutes into the main field?

Cesar Grajales Calle at the T-Mobile Invitational — what a CHAMP. Cesar went through a ton this year, and rode brilliantly at the T-Mobile, the KOM there is a huge ride.

Tyler Hamilton’s stage victory in the Tour was incredible (as was LBL). He held off a chasing peloton and put real time into them, all with a broken collarbone, yada yada yada.

David Millar’s stellar World’s TT, that was amazing, what a huge margin of victory…




Dave Aldersebaes:
I’d be terribly surprised if I were the only one to say this, but Tyler
Hamilton’s stage victory in the ’03 Tour was the coolest thing I have ever seen in pro bike racing. Overcoming the crash-itis that resulted in a fractured collarbone to win that day was probably the gutsiest ride of not only the year, but maybe the decade.



Alastair:
BIG Tex in a three in a bed romp with Sheryl Crow and Sandra Bullock, not bad for a man with one cajone!



The PEZ:
I’m usually not one to jump on a bandwagon, but come on – Tyler’s Tour impressed, inspired, and made a new believer out of yours truly that this Mr. T. really does have it in him to win the Tour. He was argueably the most accomplished rider this year after his super Spring, and staying competitive longer than anyone, save perhaps Bettini.



Stay tuned this week for PEZ-Picks for WORST RIDE, MEMORABLE MOMENTS, and a host of categories you’ll never see in other awards show!

 

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