World time trial championship silver medallist Svein Tuft and Olympian Catharine Pendrel were voted top Male and Female Canadian cyclists for 2008 by readers of CanadianCyclist.com. Now in their 12th year, the Canadian Cyclist of the Year Awards are recognized as the premier cycling awards in Canada.
Tuft, the defending men's award winner, took more first place votes than his four competitors combined. In addition to his second place at Worlds, Tuft finished seventh in the time trial at the Olympic Games. He was subsequently signed to the US-based Garmin-Chipotle professional team, and is scheduled to ride the Tour de France in 2009. Canadian national mountain bike champion Geoff Kabush of Courtenay, BC was distant second, with Tour de France competitor Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria third.
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, QC. Premont, who won the World Cup overall title, 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. National road champion Alexandra Wrubleski of Regina, SK finished third.
Pendrel, reached at her home, commented: "It feels greated to be voted Female Rider of the Year for 2008. 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."