Posted by Editor on 12/21/09
Ryder Hesjedal (Victoria, BC) and Catharine Pendrel (Kamloops, BC) were selected by thousands of cycling enthusiasts as the top Male and Female Canadian Cyclists for 2009 after one week of voting on CanadianCyclist.com. Hesjedal was also voted as the Rider of the Decade, and his stage win at the Tour of Spain was picked as the top Individual Performance of 2009. Now in their 13th year, the Canadian Cyclist of the Year Awards are recognized as the premier cycling awards in Canada.
This is the second consecutive CC Award for professional mountain biker Pendrel, who followed up on her breakthrough year in 2008 by winning her first national title, winning the Mont Ste Anne (Quebec) round of the World Cup and finishing third overall in the World Cup series in 2009. Pendrel took 35.5% of first place votes. Emily Batty (Brooklin, Ontario), 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% of first place votes, with former winner Marie-Hélène Premont (Chateau Richer, Quebec) third with 11.2% 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 (Tour of Spain), one of the three 'Grand Tours' of cycling, along with the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. Hesjedal's Grand Tour stage win was the first by a Canadian since Steve Bauer at the Tour de France in 1988. Hesjedal ended the season ranked 69th in the world ProTour rankings. Hesjedal took 49.5% 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 CC Award winner Geoff Kabush (Courtney, BC) finished second to Hesjedal, with 22.3% 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. Zach Bell (Whitehorse, Yukon), who won a silver medal at the Track World Championships in the Omnium event, finished third with 5.9% of first place votes.
In the write-in vote for the Canadian Cyclist of the Decade, Hesjedal was selected by 31.4% of voters, followed by Premont (16.6%) and two-time mountain bike world champion Roland Green of Rossland, BC (14.6%). Pro road racer Michael Barry (8.0%) was fourth and Lori-Ann Muenzer (6.3%) fifth.
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 ten years, and this [award] is a tribute to that."
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