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Australian cycling awards announced

Cadel Evans named 2006 Australian cyclist of the year

Cadel Evans has been named the 2006 Australian Cyclist of the Year and awarded the Sir Hubert 'Oppy' Opperman Medal at a gala event at Melbourne's Arts Centre.

In 2006, Evans equaled the highest overall placing ever by an Australian at the Tour de France when he finished the three-week epic in fifth place. During the season he also won a stage and overall honours in the Tour of Romandie, and he finished the year ranked fourth on the UCI ProTour rankings. In addition this award, Evans was named the Cyclingnews 2006 Australian Male Road Cyclist of the Year.

Following is a list of all award winners.

Track Cyclists of the Year - Ben Kersten (male) and Anna Meares

Kersten outpaced two Olympic Champions to claim gold in the kilometre time trial at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. A month later at the World Championships in Bordeaux, he collected the silver medal. At the World Cup round in Los Angeles he scored gold in the kilo, and at the Australian Championships took home four gold medals.

Meares overcame a career-threatening back injury to post a winning ride in the 500m time trial at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne where she also picked up silver in the sprint. She won the sprint at the Sydney round of the World Cup and at the World Titles posted the second fastest 500m time to claim silver. She is also the reigning Oceania Champion in the sprint and time trial.

Cyclingnews Female Road Cyclist of the Year - Oenone Wood

Wood 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.

Mountain Bike Cyclist of the Year - Sam Hill (male) and Katrina Miller (female)

Hill produced a thrilling run at the World Championships 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 NORBA Series and finished the year as the number one ranked downhill rider in the world.

Miller's final year of international competition saw her again challenging on the international stage. She won the 4X at the Mont St Anne World Cup in Canada and was second in both the German and Brazilian rounds to finish the World Cup series ranked fourth overall.

Masters Cyclist of the Year - Keith Oliver (male) and Lorraine Schutz (female)

A triple gold medalist at the World Championships Oliver won the kilometre time trial, individual pursuit and points race. He also picked up silver in the sprint and was named the Best Male Rider of the Competition.

Schutz is the reigning road time trial World Champion and the Australian Champion in the individual pursuit. She also claimed silver in the road time trial and bronze in the road race at the Australian Championships.

Toyota AWD Cyclist of the Year - Michael Gallagher (male) and Lindy Hou & pilots Toireasa Gallagher & Janelle Lindsay (female)

Gallagher's World Championship debut in Switzerland this year saw him post two World Records to win gold in both the individual pursuit and the kilometre time trial. He also won gold in the pursuit and ‘kilo’ at the Australian Championships.

Hou and Gallagher returned from the World Championships in Switzerland with new rainbow jerseys after victories in the pursuit on the track and in the road race. Earlier in the year Hou teamed with Lindsay to win gold at the Australian Track Championships in the time trial and sprint.

SBS Television Coach of the Year - Scott Sharples

2006 marked the culmination of five years of exceptional work by Sharples. At the World Championships in New Zealand his riders claimed gold, bronze, fifth and sixth in the men’s elite downhill and gold in the junior women’s downhill. Scott has steered Australia to the position of the world’s number one ranked men’s downhill nation.

Sportscover Junior MTB Cyclist of the Year - Daniel Braunsteins (male) and Tracey Hannah (female)

Braunsteins is the Australian Short Track Champion and was second in the cross country at the Australian Championships and Oceania Championships. At the World Titles in New Zealand he placed sixth.

Hannah had an exceptional year in 2006. She was the series champion and won up two rounds in the elite division of the NORBA series and ended her season with a gold medal winning ride to be crowned Junior Women’s Downhill World Champion.

Sportscover Junior Track Cyclist of the Year - Cameron Meyer (male) and Tess Downing (female)

At the Junior World Championships in Belgium Meyer won gold in the individual pursuit and on the same night teamed with brother Travis for victory in the Madison. A crash during the race meant he spent the night in hospital but as soon as he was cleared to race he was back at the track for his third gold medal, this time in the team pursuit.

Downing claimed bronze in the scratch race at the World Championships where she also finished fifth in the points race and sixth in the pursuit. She was named Champion of Champions at the Nationals where she claimed three gold and a silver medal.

Sportscover Junior Road Cyclist of the Year - Cameron Meyer (male) and Peta Mullens (female)

Meyer won the road race and was second in the time trial at the Australian Championships. He won the time trial category of the National Road Series and at the World Championships finished fifth in the time trial.

Mullens took out overall honours in the National Series and scored three silver medals at the Australian Championships in the road race, time trial and criterium.

Other Awards

Australian Sports Commission Volunteers of the Year: Miles Prosser, Damon Scarfe, Peter Gould, Peter Rasell, Barry Skinner, Phillip Benson, George Nelson, Brian Taylor.
National Road Series Champion: Robert McLachlan (Male), Vicki Whitelaw (Female), Drapac Porsche (Team)
Event Merit Award: SCOTT 24 hour Mountain Bike Championships
Australian Club Premiership: Midlands Club - WA
Norm Gailey Trophy: New South Wales

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