Ryder Hesjedal, winner of the 2012 Giro dâItalia, is the first cyclist to be given the prestigious Lionel Conacher award for best Canadian male athlete of the year. Sports writers throughout Canada voted him into top place in front of tennis player Milos Raonic.
Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), who in May became the first Canadian to win the Giro dâItalia, described the award as âan incredible honour.â His victory in the three week Italian stage race came down to the final time trial in which he came through to take the win from Spainâs Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha Team) with a narrow 16-second lead.
Hesjedalâs national award comes after similar recognition for two other cyclists, Bradley Wiggins (BBC Sports Personality of the Year) and Tom Boonen (Belgian Sportsman of the Year).
Talking to the Canadian Press after his award, the Giro dâItalia champion said that, given the difficult time cycling is undergoing because of events in the past, âitâs even more crucial to recognize the achievements of now.â
He confirmed that he will attempt to defend his Giro crown in 2013.
Photo: Ryder Hesjedal, winner of the 2012 Giro d'Italia, voted best Canadian male athlete of the year
UCI Communication Services