Finalists announced for 2006 Australian cyclist of the year awards

Cycling Australia has announced the finalists for the 2006 Australian cyclist of the year awards....

Cycling Australia has announced the finalists for the 2006 Australian cyclist of the year awards. The winners will be announced at a gala evening of celebration being staged at the Arts Centre in Melbourne on Friday, November 24th.

"The finalists represent just some of the wealth of talent we have in our sport in Australia," said Cycling Australia President Mike Victor. "2006 was a year when Australian cyclists 'punched well above their weight' in results on the world stage and continued to be outstanding ambassadors for the sport and Australia."

Awards will be presented in a range of categories including juniors, masters, elite and AWD categories. The 2006 Cycling Australia media awards will also be announced. The final award of the night will be the presentation of the "Sir Hubert Opperman Medal" to the 2006 Australian Cyclist of the Year.

Male Road Cyclist of the Year:

Cadel Evans - In 2006 Cadel equalled the highest overall placing ever by an Australian at the Tour de France finishing the three week race in fifth place. During the season he also won a stage and overall honours in the Tour of Romandie and finished the year ranked fourth on the UCI ProTour rankings.

Robbie McEwen - Robbie won the green sprinter's jersey at the Tour de France for the third time and along the way scored three stage wins. Three stage victories in the Giro d'Italia were also amongst his 21 season victories.

Stuart O'Grady - Despite a forced rest during the season to recover from five broken ribs and a collarbone fracture Stuart came back in fighting form to finish second in the GP Zurich and third in Paris-Tours. He was second overall in the Tour of Denmark and with CSC won the stage one team time trial of the Vuelta a España.

Female Road Cyclist of the Year:

Natalie Bates - Natalie found herself doing a victory lap in the road race at the Commonwealth Games celebrating her gold medal with a solo win in front of a home crowd. She also scored third place in the Denmark Golden Hour World Cup round.

Olivia Gollan - Olivia's success in 2006 included wins in a stage of the Montreal Tour in Canada, Stage 3 of the Gracia Orloza in the Czech Republic and Stage 3 of the Advertiser Criterium Series in South Australia. She also found herself on the podium for her third place in a stage of the Tour de l'Aude in France.

Oenone Wood - Oenone began the season with her third straight overall victory in the Geelong Tour and a month later was celebrating gold in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games. In the road race in Melbourne she led home the main bunch to clinch a silver medal. Oenone also celebrated a stage win in the Tour de l'Aude in France.

Other nominees

Male Track: Ryan Bayley, Sean Finning and Ben Kersten
Female Track: Katherine Bates, Katie Mactier and Anna Meares
Male BMX: Wade Bootes, Jamie Gray and Kamakazi
Female BMX: Tanya Bailey, Krystal Cranfield and Renee Junga
Male MTB: Jared Graves, Sam Hill and Chris Jongewaard
Female MTB: Katrina Miller

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