Posted by Editoress on 12/19/18
It has been less than 24 hours since we opened voting for the 2018 Canadian Cyclist of the Year awards, and already hundreds of ballots have been cast. From your votes we will select the top Canadian Cyclists of 2018.
Today, we want to introduce our nominees for the top Female rider of the year. This year, we have four nominees - two from Mountain Bike and two from the Road. One athlete has won this award previously - Emily Batty - while the other three have not - Karol-Ann Canuel, Leah Kirchmann and Haley Smith. All four have had extremely strong seasons; possibly the best of their careers.
Professional mountain biker Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) was our female pick in 2015, and is a regular on the ballot. After struggling a bit with illness early in the year (but still finishing fourth at the Commonwealth Games), Batty grew stronger as the season went on. While the highlight was at the end of the season with her bronze medal at the world championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, Batty had an exceptional World Cup run, with six top-5 results in seven races, including two second places and two third places. She finished third overall in the season-long World Cup standings and ends the year ranked sixth in the world. Mid-season, she also successfully defended her national title.
Karol-Ann Canuel has appeared on the CC Awards ballot before, since she is regularly one of the top Canadian women on the UCI Women's WorldTour road circuit with the Boels Dolmans team. As a member of the Dutch-based team, she won a silver medal at the world championships in the Team Time Trial. This was only the start of an extremely successful week of competition in Innsbruck, Austria, at the Worlds - she followed that up with eighth in the Individual Time Trial, and then sixth in the Road Race; where she was just behind the leaders in the final sprint. Three races, three top-10s. With Boels Dolmans, Canuel also won a WorldTour Team Time Trial, and individually she finished second at both the Chrono Gatineau and National Championships time trials.
Winnipeg's Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) has finished in the top-3 for both Individual Performance and Best Rider in the CC Awards in past years. This year, Kirchmann showed her strength in both the road race and time trial. The highlight of her season was the Road World Championships, where she was part of the bronze medal winning squad in the Team Time Trial, and then followed that up with a career-best fourth in the Individual Time Trial. Other time trial results for the year include winning the National title, and a WorldTour TTT. In road racing, Kirchmann was fourth overall at the la Vuelta (WorldTour) race, fifth overall at the Boels Ladies Tour (WorldTour) and second at Brabantse Pijl.
Mountain biker Haley Smith had a breakout year in 2018. The Norco Factory Team rider began the year by winning the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. She also took her best World Cup result, with eighth place at the Canadian stop in Mont-Ste-Anne, and was sixth at the world championships, to finish the year 16th in the world rankings. Domestically, Smith won three Canada Cups and was third at the National championships.
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