Cycling Australia has announced it will launch a Cycling Hall of Fame to celebrate the country's rich history of the sport at its annual awards ceremony in Melbourne on November 13. The inaugural inductees are set at ten and will include both men and women for the first year with guidelines stipulating riders must be retired for a minimum of two years before consideration.
At the 2014 awards ceremony the governing body announced a "Tour de France team of the century" which included the likes of Phil Anderson, Hubert Opperman, and the first Australians to ride the Tour de France, Snowy Munro and Don Kirkham, who would all be eligible for selection.
"Cycling was a huge crowd puller in the late 1800s, with events like the Austral Wheelrace at the MCG," selection committee chair Peter Bartels said referring to the world's oldest track race which began in 1887. "It has captured the public's attention, beginning with the feats of riders like Sir Hubert Opperman, and through to more recent champions like Kathy Watt and Cadel Evans.
Having retired in February this year, Australia's only Tour de France and World Champion winner Cadel Evans would be ineligible as an inductee until the 2017 awards ceremony. Considering Evans' achievements also include two years as the Mountain Bike World Cup winner, it appears it would only be a matter of time before the 38-year-old is inducted.
Tour de France green jersey winners Robbie McEwan and Baden Cooke, along with Olympic gold medallist Brad McGee are recent retirees the committee could consider for induction although Bartels stressed the hall of fame will be inclusive of all cycling disciplines.
"The Cycling Australia Hall of Fame will give us an official means of telling these stories and celebrating what makes this such a great sport," added 1962 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Bartels. "Importantly, with time, the Cycling Australia Hall of Fame will reflect the feats of our cyclists in all disciplines."
The inaugural ceremony will also include two non-athletes who have made contributes to the sport off the bike.
"Although the focus of the Cycling Australia Hall of Fame is on athletic performance, we will also be acknowledging the great people behind the scenes who have played a major role in the success of Australian cycling," said Bartels.
Cycling Australia CEO Nick Green added it was time to recognise and be proud of those Australians who have impacted the sport.
"Cycling in Australia boasts a tremendously rich history spanning well over one hundred years and we are proud to be able to highlight the achievements which have shaped our sport," Green said. “Like all cycling enthusiasts, I personally am eager to see the superb calibre of inaugural inductees, which will be the best of the very best."
A "Legends of the Sport" category will be added in three years, reserved for those having displayed super-star performances on the bike. Pioneers of the sport such as Hubert Opperman, Phil Anderson, who became the first non-European to wear the mallot jaune at the Tour in 1981 and multiple Commonwealth and Olympic gold medallist Russell Mockridge. The first medal winner for Australia at the UCI Road World Championships, Liz Tadich is another possible inductee.
The deciding seven-person committee consists of 2007 track World Champion Kate Bates, multiple national mountain bike champion Rob Eva, cycling commentator Matthew Keenan, two-time winner of the UCI World Cup Anna Wilson, three-time Herald Sun Tour winner John Trevorrow, 1984 team pursuit gold medallist and Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur, with Bartels as chair.
Cycling Australia did not specify whether riders who have served a doping suspension or made a doping confession will be eligible for induction.
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