News feature, December 15, 2007
Overall 2007 ProTour winner and Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans cleaned up at the annual Australia Cyclist of the Year Awards, held in Adelaide, South Australia. The Predictor-Lotto rider was faced with stiff competition in every category following a stellar year for Australian riders on the international scene. Cyclingnews' Greg Johnson reports.
Evans claimed the Cyclingnews.com-sponsored Male Road Cyclist award, while T-Mobile Women's squad rider Oenone Wood took the women's equivalent of the award. Evans claimed the award over TdF stage winner and team-mate, Robbie McEwen, as well as hometown favourite Stuart O'Grady, who became the first Australian to claim the prestigious Paris-Roubaix Spring Classic this season.
Evans also claimed the Scody People's Choice award, which was nominated and voted by the Australian cycling community. The softly-spoken rider wrapped up the evening by taking the night's biggest award - the Sir Hubert Opperman Trophy, awarded to the best performed cyclist each year. Evans took the trophy for the second consecutive year, beating contenders O'Grady, 500 metre time trial world champion Anna Meares and downhill world champion and world cup winner Sam Hill.
"They're getting pretty hard to win these 'Oppy' Awards now," said Evans. "I feel sorry for Stuey, he makes history winning Paris-Roubaix - a monument in cycling - then doesn't win it, but that's only a compliment to Australian cycling and everyone involved in it."
"I think People's Choice awards sometimes are often the best ones, actually," said Evans, who also recently claimed the top Australian sports person of the year award from a major media outlet, in addition to the new Scody-sponsored award. "Personally for me that's an honour to win."
"If we can continue like this we'll have our biggest and best season in 2008. I wouldn't mind finding 24 more seconds in July next year," he added, a reference to the 23 second margin between first and second place in this year's Tour de France.
The feats of the Australian cyclists and their support staff during an extraordinary 2007 season were praised by Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredricks during his speech. Fredricks recognised the hard work by Cycling Australia staff and its partners, both at home and abroad, as being an ongoing commitment to the development of the country's young athletes.
"I guess our policy of continues improvement must be working to some degree," said Fredricks. "You'll never get us to admit that we haven't got a lot more work to do.
"I'll certainly be the first to say the talent we have in our athletes, the talent we have in our coaching staff, the support we get from people like the Australian Sports Commission and the AIS, you just think okay what is it going to win this award in five years time and will we keep continuously improving I think we will."
A special guest attending the evening's award ceremony was newly instated federal sports minister and local Adelaide MP Kate Ellis. The vibrant young minister addressed the assembled cycling fraternity, congratulating it on its remarkable achievements and pointing to the sport's growing strength within a ball-sport dominated market.
Cyclingnews.com Male Road Cyclist/Scody People's Choice/Sir Hubert Opperman Trophy - Cadel Evans
Evans became the first Australian to finish on the Tour de France's podium in July, before racing out the season to claim the prestigious white ProTour winner's jersey. Evans' success in the French Grand Tour has raised not only the rider's profile on Australian shores, but the entire sport's.
Cyclingnews.com Female Road Cyclist - Oenone Wood
Wood proved to be consistent throughout 2007's Women's World Cup races, claiming three top five places during the series while riding for the German powerhouse T-Mobile women's squad. Additionally Wood claimed two stages and overall honours at the Tour of Montreal in Canada, against some of the women's peloton's toughest riders, in addition to two stage victories at the Tour of New Zealand. The T-Mobile rider claimed the award over fellow nominees Rochelle Gilmore and Nikki Egyed.
NAB Male Track Cyclist - Cameron Meyer
Meyer is a name which has increasingly became synonymous with the future of Australian cycling throughout 2007. The West Australian rider marked his arrival on the elite scene with victory in the Los Angeles Track World Cup's points race and backed it up with a solid fourth at the World Championships in Spain. The rising star claimed the men's track cyclist award from Ben Kersten and Shane Perkins.
NAB Female Track Cyclist - Anna Meares
Meares claimed world championship gold in Spain this year, after smashing her own 500 metre time trial world record. The Australian track cycling stalwart also claimed three bronze medals at the games. Meares faced stiff competition in the women's category from both Kate Bates and Katie Mactier.
Shimano Male MTB cyclist - Sam Hill
After claiming both the world championship and world cup titles in 2007, Hill was difficult to look past for the male MTB cyclist award. The Monster Energy rider showed flare in his lightening world championship-winning run in Great Britain which added to the dominate nature in which he controlled the 2007 World Cup. Hill, who was in the United States and unable to claim his award on the night, edged out Dan McConnell and Jared Graves for the award.
Shimano Female MTB cyclist - Tracey Hannah
Hannah had an impressive debut year in elite competition during 2007. The rider not only claimed bronze at the world championships in Great Britain but also took out the Austrian World Cup round.
Hillbrick Racing Male BMX Cyclist - Khalen Young
Young opened his 2007 World Cup account in style, winning the Supercross round in Madrid and also claiming silver at the year's World Championships. Young took the award over Graves and Luke Madill.
Hillbrick Racing Female BMX Cyclist - Nicole Callisto
Callisto endured a difficult season, having undergone her second knee operation in 12 months, but still she fought on strong. Callisto, who edged out Melissa Mankowski and Tanya Bailey for the award, finished the year ranked number two in the world and landed herself finals births at the Beijing and Frejus Supercross World Cup rounds.
Junior Male Road Cyclist - Jack Bobridge
Bobridge took fourth place at the junior world championships time trial event in Mexico, helping him edge out Travis Meyer and Adam Semple for this title. Bobridge also claimed silver in the junior TT race at the Australian titles in January.
Junior Male Track Cyclist - Travis Meyer
Meyer continued his tremendous rise through the junior rankings this season, claiming an impressive three Junior Track World Championships in Mexico. Like his brother Cameron, the West Australian born rider has shown signs of big things to come.
Junior Female Track and Road Cyclist - Josephine Tomic
Western Australia's Tomic has a bright future ahead of her if this year's performance is anything to go by. The youngster claimed an impressive three Junior World Championships at this year's titles in Mexico. After claiming two golds on the track, Tomic back up her efforts just days later to claim the time trial championship and finish fourth in the road race. The efforts lead to the future star claiming both the female track and road junior awards this year.
Junior Male BMX cyclist - Joshua Webb
Webb topped the Oceania rankings in 2007 and finished third in the world rankings. Webb edged out Matthew Willoughby and Steven Janssen for the award.
Junior Male MTB cyclist - Mitch Delfs
The reigning Australian junior downhill champion Delfs claimed this year's award from Joel Bain and Paul VanDerPloeg. Delfs also finished fourth at this year's World Championships.
Junior Female BMX and MTB cyclist - Caroline Buchanan
Buchanan took the BMX award after claiming the Australian national title and ending the season ranked fifth in the world. She also claimed the MTB title after finishing eight in the 4X World Championships.
Best photo of the year - Mark Gunter
Cyclingnews.com photographer Mark Gunter claimed the best photo award for the second time this year. Gunter's crystal clear image of Sid Taberlay and Shaun Lewis from the Australian mountain bike championships earned the photographer top placing in the category.
Coach of the year - Gary Sutton
Male Master Cyclist - Ron Boyle (Masters 7)
Female Masters Cyclist - Michelle King (Masters 3)
Male Disability Cyclist - Michael Gallagher (LC1)
Female Disability Cyclist - Angela Fleming (LC2)
Best story - SBS Television, Michael Tomalaris and Mark Falahey's Aussie Onslaught - a documentary profiling 25 years of Australians at the Tour de France
Keith Essen Regional Media Award - Parramatta Advertiser, Brad Earl's coverage of Kate Bates' victory in the points race at the 2007 World Championships.
Volunteers:Fiona Hedgecoe (ACT), Ron Peek (NSW), Carleita Harbidge (NT), Gino Cornacchia (QLD), Gemma Kernich (SA), Gary Hardwick (Tasmania), Hugh Schulz (Victoria), Murray Coombs (WA), Cheryl Vince (BMXA)
Champion State: New South Wales
Club: Carnegie-Caulfield Cycling Club - Victoria
Event: Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series - Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania