Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops, British Columbia was named Female Canadian Cyclist of the Year for 2008 after one week of voting on canadiancyclist.com. Now in their 12th year, the Canadian Cyclist of the Year Awards are recognized as the premier cycling awards in Canada.
Pendrel, who finished second in the season-long World Cup of mountain bike racing and was fourth at the Olympic Games in the cross country, finished marginally ahead of defending award winner Marie-Helene Premont of Chateau Richer, Quebec. Premont won the World Cup overall title and took a higher percentage of first place votes, but Pendrel's stronger ranking in second and third place voting gave the New Brunswick-born rider her first title. The top road racer was national road champion Alexandra Wrubleski, in third place.
"It feels great to be voted Female Rider of the Year for 2008," said Pendrel. "It was a big year [for Canadian women], with a lot of great performances by women on the road, track and dirt. This was definitely my best season yet. I'm looking forward to another great season in 2009 with my Luna professional team."
On the men's side, Canadian national mountain bike champion Geoff Kabush of Courtenay, British Columbia finished a distant second behind winner Svein Tuft of Langley, British Columbia. Tuft repeated the award win after taking more first place votes than his four competitors combined. He won silver in the UCI time trial world championships and finished seventh in the time trial at the Olympic Games. Tuft was subsequently signed to the American Garmin-Chipotle professional team, and is scheduled to ride the Tour de France in 2009.
Tour de France competitor and former mountain biker Ryder Hesjedal finished third.