Ryder Hesjedal and Catharine Pendrel were selected by thousands of cycling enthusiasts as the top male and female Canadian Cyclists of 2009. Hesjedal was also voted as the Rider of the Decade, and his stage win at the Vuelta a Espana was picked as the top individual performance of 2009. Now in their 13th year, the Canadian Cyclist of the Year Awards came from votes tallied on CanadianCyclist.com.
This is the second consecutive Canadian Cyclist of the Year Award for professional mountain biker Pendrel, who followed up on her breakthrough year in 2008 by winning her first national title, winning the Mont Sainte Anne,Quebec, round of the World Cup and finishing third overall in the World Cup series in 2009. Pendrel took 35.5 percent of first place votes.
Emily Batty, who finished second overall in the Under 23 Mountain Bike World Cup and won two Under 23 World Cup races, finished second with 24.9 percent of first place votes, with former winner Marie-Hélène Premont third with 11.2 percent of first place ballots.
Ryder Hesjedal, who began the decade as a World Cup winning mountain bike professional made a switch to road racing after the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Hesjedal has steadily worked his way up through the pro ranks with the Garmin-Transitions ProTour team, riding his first Tour de France in 2008 and his second this year. Hesjedal also achieved first and second place finishes in stages of the Vuelta a Espana. Hesjedal's Grand Tour stage win was the first by a Canadian since Steve Bauer at the Tour de France in 1988. He ended the season ranked 69th in the world ProTour rankings and took 49.5 percent of first place votes.
Hesjedal, who is currently preparing for next season in Maui, Hawaii, said, "It was great news to hear when I got up this morning. To receive an award like this from the public and Canadian Cyclist is very special, and made me reflect on the past year again. It was definitely a big year for me."
Former Canadian Cyclist of the Year Award winner Geoff Kabush finished second to Hesjedal, with 22.3 percent of first place votes, after a season that saw him repeat as National champion in mountain bike, finish fifth at the World Championships and win his first ever World Cup in Bromont, Quebec. (Hesjedal was the last Canadian man to win a World Cup, in 2002. - Ed.). Zach Bell, who won a silver medal at the Track World Championships in the omnium event, finished third with 5.9 percent of first place votes.
In the write-in vote for the Canadian Cyclist of the Decade, Hesjedal was selected by 31.4 percent of voters, followed by Premont (16.6 percent) and two-time mountain bike world champion Roland Green (14.6 percent).
Hesjedal commented on the Rider of the Decade award, "It is good to see that recognition about my consistency. I've been going pretty hard the last 10 years, and this [award] is a tribute to that."
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