Olympians Muenzer and Barry win Canadian Cyclist awards

Canadian Cyclist has announced the winners of the 2004 Canadian Cyclist of the Year Awards, as chosen by the readers of its magazine and website.

The women's award went to Lori-Anne Muenzer (Edmonton, Alberta), who began 2004 with a bronze medal at the Track World Championships in the Match Sprint, took bronze (Sprint) and silver (500m) medals at the World Cup Final, and repeated as National champion in the Sprint and 500 Metre Time Trial. However, it was her amazing performance at the Olympic Games, winning Canada's first ever Olympic Gold medal in cycling, in the Sprint competition, which really put Lori-Ann in the history books.

Lori-Ann is the first ever track cyclist to win a Canadian Cyclist of the Year award, and she had to beat out two former CC Award winners to take the title - last year's winner, Marie-Helene Premont (who won a silver medal in Athens, plus finished second overall in the World Cup overall standings), and Alison Sydor (4th at the Olympics, Bronze medal at the World Championships, and 3rd overall in the international world rankings).

With two days of voting remaining, Lori-Ann led Marie-Helene by a mere six votes, and the final tally saw the Olympic champion win by just 2.5% of the votes cast - 45.6% to Premont's 43.1%. Sydor finished third with 11% of the votes submitted.

Muenzer was also successful in winning the Best Individual Performance award for her ride at the Olympics. She took a whopping 45.9% of the votes cast for her gold medal ride. By comparison, Marie-Helene Premont (Olympic silver medal) and Charles Dionne (San Francisco T-mobile International road race) tied for a distant second, each with 14.5% of ballots cast.

The men's Canadian Cyclist of the Year went to Michael Barry (Toronto, Ontario). In 2003, Barry finished seventh in the men's road race at the World Championships in Hamilton, Ontario, and won the Canadian Cyclist Best Individual Performance award. In 2004, he proved that his breakthrough performance in Hamilton was no fluke, by finishing seventh in the Championship of Zurich World Cup, by riding as a member of the U.S. Postal squad at the Vuelta España which won the Team Time Trial stage, and by finishing 32nd in the Olympic road race, after a solo attack in the final kilometres, which could have garnered him a bronze medal (Belgian Axel Merckx, who counter-attacked after Barry was brought back, did stay away to take the bronze medal). Barry is the highest ranked Canadian rider in the men's UCI rankings, and recently re-signed with Lance Armstrong's Discovery cycling team.

Throughout the balloting, Barry was closely trailed by Geoff Kabush, winner of the Norba National series, and national cyclo-cross champion. Barry finished with 37.5% of the vote, followed by Kabush at 33.9%. National road champion Gord Fraser was third (20.2%), and Olympian Seamus McGrath received 8.4% of votes cast.

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