World Champion Sam Hill, 21 from Glen Forrest in Perth is one of three finalists in the Australian Cycling Awards for Mountain Bike (which will be presented on Friday 24th November at the Arts Centre in Melbourne).
Hill produced a thrilling run at the World Championships in New Zealand in August to claim the gold medal in the elite downhill. He was consistent throughout the year picking up two World Cup wins in Great Britain and Austria to finish second overall in the World Cup Series. He won the American NORBA Series and finished the year as the number one ranked downhill rider in the world.
Hill is up against Jared Graves, 23 from Toowoomba in Queensland who claimed victory in the Four Cross at the Willingen World Cup in Germany and was second in the Brazilian round. He also placed fifth in both the Vigo (ESP) and Mont St Anne (CAN) rounds.
Olympic Cross Country rider, Chris Jongewaard, 27, from Parra Hills in Adelaide is also a finalist. Jongewaard won the Mountain Bike Australia Cross Country Series and was second at the Australian Championships in Mt Beauty in January. At the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne he delighted the Aussie fans with an early attack that saw him lead for most of the race before finishing fourth across the line. A photo of Jongewaard at the finish of the Commonwealth Games is also up for a photographic award by photographer, Mikkeil Godfree.
Newly retired Katrina Miller, 31 from Mudgeeraba on the Gold Coast, is the only finalist is the female mountain biker of the year award. Millers final year of international competition saw her again challenging on the international stage. She won the Four Cross at the Mont St Anne World Cup (CAN) and was second in both the German and Brazilian rounds to finish fourth in the World Cup Series. Miller has won the Womens Mountain Bike Cyclist of the Year Award an outstanding five times previously in 2005, 2003, 1999, 1998 and in 1997. She has recently retired and is just about to officially open her new bike shop in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast called Bikes and Beans.
Tracey Hannah, 18, from Cairns in North Queensland is the only finalist for the Sportscover Junior Female Mountain Bike Cyclist of the Year Award. Hannah had an exceptional year in 2006. She was the National Series champion and won up two rounds in the elite division of the American NORBA series (Sugar Mountain and Deer Valley) and ended her season with a gold medal winning ride to be crowned Junior Womens Downhill World Champion in Rotorua in August. Hannah also received the same award for the past two years.
A range of awards will be presented culminating in the presentation of the prestigious Sir Hubert Opperman Medal to the 2006 Australian Cyclist of the Year. For further information go to www.cycling.org.au