Cycling Australia crown best of 2018
26 November 2018
CYCLING: South Australia’s Rohan Dennis is celebrating his second ‘Oppy Medal’ in four years after being crowned the 2018 Australian Cyclist of the Year at the Cycling Australia Awards in Melbourne.
Dennis, who previously took the honours in 2015, was awarded the Sir Hubert 'Oppy' Opperman Medal & Trophy after storming to the individual time trial rainbow jersey at the UCI Road World Championships. The victory capped a stellar 2018 which included six-time trial victories for BMC-Racing in the including at the Giro d'Italia and twice at the Vuelta a España.
Dennis, who was also awarded elite road cyclist of the year award following a stellar 2018 which included six-time trial victories for BMC-Racing in the including at the Giro d'Italia and twice at the Vuelta a España.
Amanda Spratt claimed the women’s honour in the road category, after becoming the sixth Australian woman in sixty years to reach the World Championships' road race podium when she claimed silver. She also boasted victories at the Santos Women's Tour Down Under and Emakumeen Bira, a stage win at the Giro Rosa and podiums at Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Amanda Spratt said, “It feels great, 2018 was such a good year for me and it just feels nice to pick up that Elite Road Cyclist of the Year award amongst some pretty strong contenders”
“I think Australian women’s cycling is in such a strong position so I’m honoured to take the award”
The Men’s Team Pursuit quartet of Alex Porter, Sam Welsford, Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien were awarded the elite male track award after becoming the first team in history to break the three-minute, fifty-second barrier (3:49.804) on their way to winning gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. At the helm was Tim Decker who was aptly named Coach of the Year.
Sam Welsford, who took dual honours on the night after being named U23 Cyclist of Year after also claiming Commonwealth gold in the scratch race, and omnium and individual pursuit national titles.
Stephanie Morton was named Elite Track cyclist of the year after claiming her second straight World Championships sprint silver medal and dominating April’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with a triple gold medal haul in the team sprint (with McCulloch), keirin and sprint.
Adelaide's Morton said, “It’s pretty special…to come away with the win today was really special. Every award is a special one and it’s nice to recognised by your national body but it’s also special when you can pick up a SASI award, it’s always nice it looks good on the resume and it’s always great to catch up with all the other athletes from the other sports.”
Dual road world champion Emilie Miller and road world champion and track world silver medalist Alistair Donohoe claimed the para-cycling honours.
Donohoe said, “It’s great to be back accepting the award, I’ve had it a few times before and for me it has been a real progression pathway after a comeback from a few injuries and to stand up there and accept the award made me feel like I was really back to where I should be.”
Teenager Saya Sakakibara was awarded BMX cyclists of the year after finishing second overall on the UCI rankings and claiming her maiden World Cup win and four podium appearances. Logan Martin took the men’s award following 2018 World Cup and X-Games gold.
19-year-old Sakakibara said, "It feels really amazing I’m so humbled to be here, it’s my first ever year racing as an elite. I was fresh on the elite scene and had no idea what to expect”
“At first I had to overcome the challenge of how I see my all-time idols so now that I see them as my competitors, which was really difficult at first but I soon found my feet and I was able to get four out of eight World Cup podiums which was definitely not what I expected and I was able to finish the season off with a win which was so amazing"
Lucas Plapp took out the overall junior cyclists of the year award following his barnstorming 2018 year which included silver in the junior men's time trial at the UCI Junior Road World Championships and dual track world titles.
You can find the full list of winners HERE