Paper names Schumacher as sportsman of the year

 

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, who won his fourth Formula One world title in a record-breaking year, was named as

L'Equipe'ssportsman of 2001 today.

The German retained his F1 crown with nine wins and a record points tally but the French newspaper's award was far closer than the grand prix season - just one point separating Schumacher from Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe.

Schumacher scored 196 points to 195 for Thorpe, who won six gold medals and set world records in the 200, 400 and 800 metre freestyle events at the world championships in Fukuoka in Japan.

"I'm very surprised and very honoured by this nomination", Schumacher said.

"But I know that standings like this one will never give a true image of all the year's performances so I also want to pay tribute to all the athletes who were nominated by the jury."

Italian 500cc motorcyling world champion Valentino Rossi was third with 102 points ahead of Moroccan middle-distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj (90 points), who retained his world 1,500 metres title in Edmonton, Canada.

French cyclist Arnaud Tournant, who broke the one minute barrier for the one km time trial, was fifth with 75 points.

L'Equipereaders had already voted Formula One world champions Ferrari their team of the year.