Michael Matthews (ACT) is celebrating an Oppy ‘triple crown’ after claiming three of the major honours at the 2017 Cycling Australia Awards in Melbourne on Friday.
Matthews, 27, was awarded the Sir Hubert 'Oppy' Opperman Medal & Trophy after being named the 2017 Australian Cyclist of the Year in front of 300 of Australian cycling’s elite.
In addition to the Road Cyclist of the Year award, the popular Canberran was also voted the 2017 JLT People’s Choice Award winner by thousands of Australian cycling fans.
“It is a huge honour in Australia to win the Oppy, it is something I have been dreaming about since I became a cyclist,” Matthews told Cycling Australia from his home in Monaco. “It is an unreal feeling (to win all three), I didn’t think it would happen so soon, but it is a reminder for me that it was a big year for me and Australian cycling.
“It means a lot that I can be among other excellent Australian cyclists who have won this award.”
In 2017, Matthews became just the third Australian to win the Tour de France green jersey, scorching to the sprinting honour with two stages wins.
At the Road World Championships, Matthews claimed the team time trial world title for Team Sunweb before winning road race bronze a few days later in the green and gold for the Australian Cycling Team.
“I started the season with mixed feelings as I went into a new team and you never know how fast will you adapt,” said Matthews of his debut in the black and white of the German professional team which saw him finish ninth on the UCI end of year rankings. “But I feel so comfortable in my team which reflects on my results too.
“Unfortunately, the rainbow jersey didn't work out for me but I will keep fighting for it.”
It is the first Oppy Medal for Matthews who began cycling as a teenager with the Tuggeranong Vikings Cycling Club after his cycling talents were recognised at school.
“Thank you to Cycling Australia and the whole cycling community in Australia to making sure our sport is well promoted and supporting young talents as I was, as without their support I would never be professional cyclist,” said Matthews, who was quick to thank the support of his family and friends.
“To my coach Brian Stephens, my team and my wife. They put great amounts of efforts into fulfilling my dreams and I am so thankful for that.
“And to all my fans which stay with me no matter if they are good or bad results, they are always there to support me.
“It’s not the easiest sport, and it sometimes has more downs than ups, but its something I love doing and seeing appreciation from Australia makes it so worth it.”
Katrin Garfoot (Gold Coast CC/QLD) won her third straight female Road Cyclist of the Year award after becoming just the second Australian female cyclist to win World Championships medals in the time trial and road race in the same year. The Gold Coast Cycling Club member, riding for Orica-Scott, also claimed both the road and time trial national crowns.
The Track Cyclists of the Year awards went to Cameron Meyer (Midland CC/WA) and Stephanie Morton (South Coast CC/SA).
Meyer took his career world title tally to eight after winning the team pursuit and points race crowns at the World Championships, in addition to the Madison silver. Meyer also added three national titles and World Cup gold and silver to secure a fourth career award.
It was a breakthrough international season for Morton who claimed her maiden World Championship medals in 2017 with silver in both the sprint and team sprint. Morton also won two national titles (sprint and team sprint) and set the fastest flying 200m time ever seen in Australia.
It was a glittering year from para-cyclist David Nicholas C3 (Mackay CC/QLD) who won the individual pursuit world title and a swag of medals including World Championship silver and bronze, Road World Cup gold and four national titles.
Nicholas was named the male Para-cyclist of the Year for a second time, while Carol Cooke T2 (St Kilda CC) rode to a third women’s award after claiming the time trial and road race world titles, three World Cup gold and two national titles on the road.
Caroline Buchanan (ACT) is celebrating a sixth straight BMX award after collecting World Championship silver, the national title and a win at the USA BMX Gator Nationals in 2017.
In the men’s BMX category, Australia welcomed a new BMX cyclist of the Year in Logan Martin (QLD) who was crowned the inaugural world champion in BMX Freestyle with a blazing run at the inaugural World Championships in China.
Queensland’s first siblings of mountain biking celebrated their first win in the category, with Michael Hannah grabbing World Championships silver, while sister Tracey Hannah claimed her first World Cup victory in five years and found the podium with bronze at the World Championships.
Carol Cooke T2 (St Kilda CC) and David Nicholas C3 (Mackay CC/QLD) have been crowned 2017 Australian Para-cyclists of the Year.
It was a glittering year from para-cyclist Nicholas C3 who won the individual pursuit world title and a swag of medals including World Championship silver and bronze, Road World Cup gold and four national titles on the track and road.
Cooke riding to a third women’s award after claiming the time trial and road race World Championships, three World Cup gold and two national titles on the road.
The Gary West Coach of the Year went to Nicholas Flyger (SA) who, during an emotional season which saw him take over the reigns from the late West, was instrumental in guiding Morton to her first World Championship sprint medal (silver) and the women's team sprint duo (Morton & McCulloch) to silver.
The Norm Gailey Trophy for Champion State went to New South Wales, while the Gold Coast Cycling Club won its maiden Australian Club Premiership.