McEwen ends stellar year with award - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McEwen ends stellar year with award

By Valkerie Mangnall 08/12/2002 06:08:17 AM Comments (0)

After a year of remarkable success, Robbie McEwen has still described being named Australian Cyclist of the Year as overwhelming.

A total of 30 Australians claimed the title of world champion in 2002, but McEwen was the standout.

The first Australian to win the Tour de France green sprinter's jersey racked up a stunning 19 season victories - the most of any rider in professional road ranks.

His achievements earned him the prestigious Sir Hubert Opperman Trophy as the nation's top rider on Australian Cycling's annual night of celebrations at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome.

"It's a bit overwhelming," McEwen said.

"I didn't expect to be standing here after such a year for Australian cyclists.

"Thirty Australian cyclists have the right to wear the World Championship jersey this year. I'm very happy and very honoured to be standing here."

McEwen, who won two stages at the Tour de France and the Tour of Italy, was also named men's road cyclist of the year.

That was after another first for the 30-year-old Queenslander.

He became the only Australian ever to reach the podium for the elite road race at the world championships with a silver medal.

He finished the year as the No.4 ranked cyclist in the world.

McEwen thanked his family and Belgium professional team Lotto-Adecco for the part they had played in his success this year.

"Other years I struggled at times and maybe didn't reach the heights that I'd expected for myself and hoped for," McEwen said.

"This year the little things came together."

Sydney's Brad McGee was named men's track cyclist of the year after taking the world individual pursuit crown.

That followed his amazing feat to win a third consecutive Commonwealth title in the same event less than 48 hours after completing the Tour de France, where he also won a stage.

McGee paid special tribute to Australia's world record breaking pursuit team which had also been nominated for the men's track award.

"I didn't expect to be presented with an award tonight," McGee said.

"It's been a big year but it's been a big year for all Australians involved with cycling."

Sara Carrigan, 22, from Queensland, was women's road cyclist of the year after placing fourth in the road race and fifth in the time trial at the road world championships.

Queensland sprinter Kerrie Meares, 20, took the women's track award after winning world championship silver and bronze medals along with two Commonwealth titles.

Australian Institute of Sport head track coach Martin Barras was declared coach of the year.

The honour came after Australia easily topped the medal tally at the senior world track championships in Denmark with four gold, five silver and four bronze medals.

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