Posted by Editor on 01/4/11
When we were putting together our list of candidates for the 2010 Canadian Cyclist of the Year awards, we began to realize that 2010 was an exceptional year for Canada in cycling.
The list of accomplishments was impressive and broadly-based across disciplines - here are just some of the highlights:
• 4 world titles in 3 disciplines - Para (Road), Track, Mountain Bike (Downhill)
• A World Cup title and 2 World Cup wins in mountain biking (cross-country)
• Multiple podiums in both Downhill and Cross-country
• A rider finishing top-ten in the Tour de France and ranked 8th in the world
• Two riders ranked in the top-100 of the ProTour rankings
• Multiple Para-cycling medals at Worlds
• Canada's first Pro Continental team formed
• Two world championships held in Canada
• Two ProTour races held in Canada
So, we asked ourselves the question: Is 2010 the best year ever for Canadian cycling?
There have been other years of exceptional accomplishments by Canadian riders - Steve Bauer, Alison Sydor and Roland Green are three athletes that easily come to mind. But that was one rider having a stellar season, not many riders having strong results across multiple disciplines.
The one year that could possibly challenge 2010, to our minds, was 1996, when Canadian riders won five medals at the Atlanta Olympics across three disciplines.
We asked some of the most knowledgable people from the Canadian cycling community, whose involvement spans the last three decades, what they thought.
Louis Barbeau, Executive Director of the FQSC and President of the UCI's Para-cycling Committee, commented:
It is hard to compare years, as the context is very different. The results in 1996 were unexpected to some extent, whereas those of 2010 are possibly more the result of a system built over the years. By this, I mean that the results were less of a surprise to me. I also believe that we should be doing well in the years to come. I think that the training centers and the international events held in Canada these last years have had a significant impact.
Jacques Landry, former pro rider (and member of the 1996 Olympic squad) is now the Director of High Performance for the Canadian Cycling Association.
From my recollection, 2010 has been one of the best years Canadian cycling has had in quite a while.
As an athlete having competed in 1996, I can say that the year of the Atlanta Olympics was a great one for Canadian cycling as well. However, while I can only speculate at this point, I would say that success in 1996 was greatly based on a few extraordinary athletes that, [despite a] lack of adequate funding and therefore support, were still able to prosper with great performances.
In the last few years, thanks greatly to Own the Podium and Sport Canada, we, as a national association, have been able to put in place a system that better supports our athletes where we feel the Olympic medals lie. The system now in place due to adequate funding has permitted us to employ top level coaching, administration and support staff that are able to offer proper project support, better directed funding where it is the most needed with regards to our strategic objectives as well as become more communicative with all of our stakeholders.
That said, while we have talented athletes like Tara Whitten, Catharine Pendrel, Ryder Hesjedal, and Robbie Weldon and Lyne Bessette that are able to be at the top of their international "game", their success is not only due to their raw talent but also due to a system that has been put in place to nurture and promote that talent.
Every year since we've restructured the CCA we've been able to show improvement through results, due to our talented athletes and the systems in place to support them, and we will continue to increase the support to our top tiered athletes leading into London, with hopes that additional funds like what we are seeing from B2ten will come soon to better support our 2016 and 2020 athletes.
All in all, from a High Performance Director standpoint, the CCA is in the business of developing international excellence and promoting the belief that Canada is a major international medal contender in all cycling areas. The Vancouver Winter Olympics started our nation believing that we are a sport nation and, with all of us being part of the cycling community, it is our responsibility to carry this belief to Canada being a "cycling nation"!
Steve Bauer, one of the greatest cyclists this country has ever produced, and the co-owner of Canada's first Pro Continental team (SpiderTech Powered by C10), also agrees that 2010 is just the start of something big for Canadian cycling:
With those results I would back your claim as 2010 best year ever but, then again 96, was very hot too for the Olympics. Best position would be, best ever since 96!! As for the future, I can only say we are doing our part, so I see a positive future.
How about you? How does 2010 stack up? Register your choice Here.
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