Hayman and Garfoot collect Australian Cyclist of the Year awards

Mat Hayman (Orica-BikeExchange) won the Sir Hubert Opperman Trophy for the Australian Cyclist of the Year at the annual Cycling Australia Awards on Friday.

Hayman collected his trophy, as well as the award for Male Road Cyclist of the Year, after a season that saw him take the biggest victory of his career in April at Paris-Roubaix.

"My life has changed and my career has been validated in many ways," Hayman said. "I feel more confident when racing, like the weight of having to prove myself has been lifted."

The 38-year-old, who turned professional in 2000 with Rabobank, claimed the stunning Paris-Roubaix win after beating Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) to the line in the Roubaix velodrome. He became just the second Australian to win the race, following Stuart O'Grady in 2007. Hayman went on to finish the Tour de France for the first time in his career in July. His only other participation in the race came in 2014, but he was forced to abandon that year. Hayman beat Orica teammate Michael Matthews and BMC Racing's Richie Porte to the award.

"For some reason 2016 has been the culmination of my whole career, winning Paris Roubaix and finishing the Tour have been dreams come true," Hayman said.

"I feel like all the riding I have ever done over all those years all came together. It has also been a lot of fun."

Orica general manager Shayne Bannan was pleased to see his team's second Monument winner after Simon Gerrans honoured for his achievements.

"To watch Mat being recognised for his 2016 season is a huge pleasure for me and everyone involved at Orica-BikeExchange," Bannan said.

"His 2016 season was obviously a stand out results-wise, but for us, this is recognition for the many more years of commitment, sacrifice, leadership and contribution that came before it."

It was a big night for the Orica organisation at the award ceremony. Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) brought home the Female Road Cyclist of the Year trophy.

Garfoot also enjoyed her best ever season. The 35-year-old claimed a bronze medal in the individual time trial at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, and made her Olympic debut in Rio in August. She finished ninth in the Olympic time trial. She also won the national time trial championships, a stage and the overall at the Women's Tour Down Under and two stages of the Ladies Tour of Qatar. She beat Chloe Hosking (Wiggle High5) and Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS) to the Cycling Australia award.

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