Patrick Harvey and Graeme Hunn were the recipients of prestigious road and track trophies for their working in developing New Zealand’s cycling talent at the Cycling New Zealand Annual Awards dinner held in Cambridge on Saturday.
The Annual Awards dinner brings together the road and track, BMX, mountain bike, and schools cycling communities to recognise and celebrate the achievements and contributions of riders, coaches, officials and clubs throughout the year.
Patrick Harvey, director of the Mike Greer Homes Women’s Cycling Team, was rewarded with the Shona Smith Trophy, given in recognition of the person who has achieved the most for raising the profile of female involvement in cycling.
Beginning in 2015, Harvey spearheaded the establishment of a women’s cycling team, giving aspiring road riders development opportunities, both domestically and abroad. Over the past four years, the team has turned out some of New Zealand’s best young road cycling talent, including another of the night’s award recipients, female junior cyclist of the year, Niamh Fisher-Black, and Harvey’s daughter Mikayla, who was signed to professional team Bigla for the 2019 season.
The Malayan Cup, in recognition of outstanding service to cycling, was awarded to Graeme Hunn, currently leading athlete development at Cycling New Zealand. The award is the oldest and most prestigious trophy in New Zealand cycling and its previous winners, including the likes of three-time world champions Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster, have all changed the landscape of cycling in this country.
Hunn has dedicated four decades of his life to cycling, firstly competing and representing New Zealand in the early 1980’s, and since then, wearing many hats including team manager, coach and selector. In a similar vein to Harvey, Hunn has been instrumental in forging a pathway for New Zealand’s burgeoning young cycling talent, with the establishment of the Cycling New Zealand Performance Hub programme, which introduces youth riders to the rigors of life as a professional athlete, and creates an easier transition from junior to elite ranks.
Many of the night’s cyclist of the year recipients have had direct or indirect involvement with Hunn as they have progressed through the sport.
Team Jumbo-Visma’s George Bennett and Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Georgia Williams were both recognised for their strong 2018 seasons where Bennett recorded a career best eighth place finish at the Giro d’Italia and Williams became double national champion in Napier. On the track, Sam Webster’s emphatic back-to-back double gold at the Commonwealth Games secured him the male track cyclist of the year title, while Rushlee Buchanan’s Omnium bronze medal at the World Championships earned her the female equivalent.
Southland father-daughter duo Sid and Emma Cumming were both recognised, Sid as road and track coach of the year for his work with the SIT Southern Performance Hub, and Emma for her breakthrough performance on the Gold Coast, securing medals behind Australian powerhouses Steph Morton and Kaarle McCulloch in the 500m time trial and team sprint.
Aucklander Dion Smith was awarded the ‘Face of Cycling’ award as he announced his presence on the world stage, donning the Tour de France’s polka dot jersey for two stages of the most famous race in cycling.
The 25 year old, riding for pro-continental team Wanty-Groupe Gobert, left commentators scrambling to find out more about the king of the mountains classification leader, his efforts earning himself a ticket to the big time, with Mitchelton-SCOTT offering him a contract off the basis of his strong performance.
Team of the Year went to Junior World Champion team pursuit riders Finn Fisher-Black, George Jackson, Bailey O’Donnell and Corbin Strong, who defeated France by over three seconds in the final at the UCI Junior World Championships in Switzerland. The quartet earned the right to wear the famous rainbow stripes, continuing New Zealand’s strong tradition of producing world champions at junior level.
Former individual pursuit World Champion, Alison Shanks won the Service to Cycling award for her contribution to the sport as an athlete, and more recently, as a board member of Cycling New Zealand. Following in the footsteps of Sarah Ulmer, Shanks continued New Zealand’s strong tradition in individual pursuiting and continues to work to raise the profile of cycling, and females in cycling, through her role as New Zealand Olympic Ambassador.
A full list of award recipients and profiles can be viewed here.