Cycling Australia has announced nine former cyclists are among 12 inaugural inductees for its hall of fame. The national federation also included coach Charlie Walsh, Ray Godkin and Orica-GreenEdge owner Gerry Ryan. When the hall of fame was announced in September, it was stipulated riders must be retired for a minimum of two-years before before consideration.
Former Tour de France stage winners and yellow jersey wearers Phil Anderson and Robbie McEwan have been selected for the hall of fame with Kathy Watt, Anna Wilson and 2014 Athens Olympic Games gold medalist Sara Carrigan the women's inductees.
"Cycling has etched an indelible mark on the Australian sporting landscape and the Cycling Australia Hall of Fame allows us to celebrate those who have contributed to the success of Australian cycling over the past 100 years," said CEO of Cycling Australia Nick Green. "The inaugural group of inductees exemplify those that have achieved greatness or reached the pinnacle of our great sport - the best of the best - and on behalf of Cycling Australia, I congratulate them on their selection into this elite group.
"I would also like to thank Selection Chairman Peter Bartels AO and the entire committee, on their tireless effort in establishing the Hall of Fame, and what was certainly a challenging process given the depth of talent in our sport."
Sir Hubert Opperman, who also lends his name to the Australian cyclist of the year award, was one of four posthumous inductees recognised for his numerous endurance records. Olympic gold medalists Russell Mockridge and Edgar 'Dunc' Gray, and Sid Patterson were also posthumous inductees.
"Opperman’s feats in Europe saw him crowned the sports star of the year in France in 1931, while Dunc Gray became our first cyclist to win an Olympic gold medal (1932, 1km time trial)," said selection committee chairman Peter Bartels. "Mockridge and Patterson were great rivals, and sometimes teammates, who brought the best out in each other. Mockridge winning two gold medals in one day at the 1952 Olympics, while Patterson extraordinary feat of winning both sprint and individual pursuit world titles, serve the test of time."
Bartels added the other cyclists were selected for the hall of fame in recognition of their results in the most prestigious events on the calendar for both men and women.
"In the biggest race of them all, Anderson and McEwen broke new ground. Phil being the first ever non-European to wear the yellow jersey makes him a significant figure on a global scale," he said. "And Robbie was the first Australian to win the green jersey at the Tour, which he did three times, along with 12 stage victories, putting him among the greats of the sport.”
"Kathy’s victory in the road race at the 1992 Olympic Games, is one of the iconic moments in the history of Australian sport and that Olympic success was repeated by Sara in 2004. And Anna, she was the best in the world as a dual winner of the season long Women’s World Cup crowning her the world’s number one ranked cyclist."
Adding the selection committee vigorously debated the inaugural, Bartels noted the challenge of the 12 person limit.
"There are many more riders worthy of being in the Cycling Australia Hall of Fame but we can't induct everyone at once, and we looking forward to unveiling more great members in the coming years," Bartels said.
With the Australian Cyclist of the Year awards taking place on Friday in Melbourne, there will be further recognition of riders by the national federation. Simon Gerrans won the 2014 edition of the award with Rohan Dennis, Michael Matthews and Richie Porte the three finalists for the award in 2015.