Richie Porte has been named the AusCycling Cyclist of the Year for 2020 and will be awarded the sixty-fourth Sir Hubert 'Oppy' Opperman Medal since 1958.
The first career 'Oppy' Medal for Porte came after the Tasmanian cyclist became just the second Australian in history to finish the Tour de France on the podium.
"For me, this is a massive privilege and an honour to get this award finally," said Porte, 36, from his home in Tasmania. p;
"It has been something I have always wanted to do, so to take it out finally, it is of great satisfaction.p;
"When you look at the future of Australian cycling, there are so many good riders coming through.
"So, to have my name up there now alongside cyclists like Cadel Evans, Rohan Dennis, Mat Hayman and Caroline Buchanan, it is an absolute privilege and honour, so thank you to everybody."
A relative latecomer to cycling, Porte switched from triathlons to cycling in his early twenties.
The Launceston-local's climbing prowess was first realised at the 2008 National Road Series event, the Tour of Tasmania, where he dominated the famous Gunns Plains climb to claim the overall title.
In 2010 as a 25-year-old, Porte received his first WorldTour professional contract with Saxo Bank and over the next ten years, he proved an integral cog for teams such as Team Sky, BMC Racing and Trek-Segafredo.
Porte opened the COVID-19 affected 2020 season with victory in the Tour Down Under and returned to Europe to continue the WorldTour season before it was postponed in March.
In his tenth Tour de France appearance, Porte overcame a two-minute deficit on the Tour's penultimate stage to ride onto the podium, finishing in third place overall behind Tadej Pogacar. This placed Porte alongside 2011 Tour champion Cadel Evans as the only Australians to finish the Tour de France on the podium.
Porte rounded out his 2020 season in the Australian green and gold skinsuit where he finished twenty-fifth in the UCI World Championships road race, while also claiming a top-ten finish in the La Flèche Wallonne.
"As much as last year was about finally making that step onto the podium in the Tour de France, to have won the Tour Down Under in front of the great Australian fans in Adelaide was absolutely brilliant," said Porte.
"Also thank you to all the Australian fans who stayed up until the wee hours watching the Tour and hopefully see you back on the roadside in 2021 supporting us," said Porte, who will ride with INEOS Grenadiers during the 2021 season.
Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott) claimed the Female Road Cyclist of the Year Award after claiming second in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege world cup event, winning Brabantse Pijl and securing a top-five finish in the time trial at the 2020 UCI Road World Championships.
Steph Morton was named the Female Track Cyclist of the Year after winning two medals at the 2020 UCI Track World Championships in Germany - silver in the team sprint with Kaarle McCulloch and keirin bronze - in addition to five World Cup medals.
Nathan Hart, Matthew Richardson and Thomas Cornish were jointly awarded the Male Track Cyclist of the Year award after surging to bronze in the team sprint and Australia's highest finish in the event at a World Championships in eight years.
The Female Mountain Biker of the Year went to Rebecca McConnell after she claimed both Oceania and National XCO crowns and bronze at the 2020 UCI World Championships in Austria.
Jack Moir won the Male Mountain Biker of the Year Award after finishing on the podium twice during his debut Enduro World Series season. The downhiller was also the highest placed Australian in sixth at the 2020 UCI World Championships in Austria.
In BMX, the Female BMX Racing Rider of the Year went to Saya Sakakibara after she claimed a UCI World Cup silver on home soil in Australia, a podium appearance in Houston at the Lone Star Nationals, and sixth in the UCI Individual rankings.
Anthony Dean took the Male BMX Racing Rider of the Year Award following a season where he claimed UCI World Cup silver to open the season, second place at the Lone Star Nationals in Houston, and eighth on the UCI individual rankings.
Natalya Diehm was crowned the Female BMX Freestyle Rider of the Year with a stellar 2020 resulting in a sixth in the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships, plus both National and Continental titles. Diehm partook in the inaugural E-FISE series in a fractured year for sport, a digital tournament, finishing fourth.
The Male BMX Freestyle Rider of the Year went to Brandon Loupos after a stunning performance at the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in China to win the rainbow jersey of World Champion. In early 2020, Loupos took out the Japan International, taking out the highest prize purse in BMX Freestyle, and finished the year third in the UCI rankings.
In the Para-cycling categories, Meg Lemon (C4) and Stuart Jones (T2) were crowned the Para-Cyclists of the Year for Road after each celebrated dual 2020 Federation University Road National Championships gold.
Emily Petricola, who stunned the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships by winning three rainbow jerseys in one day, and David Nicholas, who claimed a fourth straight individual pursuit rainbow jersey, were judged winners of the Para-Cyclist of the Year for Track.
The inaugural ESport Cyclist of the Year winners were crowned with Sarah Gigante (Team TIBCO – SVB), who claimed silver in the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships and finished first in General Classification in the Virtual Tour of Gila.
Israel Cycling Academy's Freddy Ovett took the men's category after a top-ten finish in the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships and a strong virtual season which resulted in stage wins in the Virtual Tour de France and the Virtual Tour for All.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic forcing the cancellation of most domestic and international racing, several categories were not awarded for 2020, including the Under 23, Cyclo-cross, Masters and Juniors.
The 2020 AusCycling Cyclist of the Year Awards covered the performance period from November 1, 2019, to December 20, 2020.
“Congratulations to all the award winners on their tremendous results in what was a challenging year for all athletes worldwide,” said Marne Fechner, Chief Executive Officer, AusCycling.
“To Richie on his fantastic achievement, reaching the Tour de France podium, and to all our athletes across all our cycling disciplines, you are wonderful ambassadors for our sport.
“It is exciting to celebrate so many world-class performances across the disciplines of road, track, BMX, mountain bike, para-cycling, and we welcome Esports for the first time, in the inaugural Cyclist of the Year Awards announced under AusCycling.
“While we are unable to celebrate our athletes' success in person in 2020, we look forward to once again hosting the AusCycling Cyclist of the Year Awards when it is safe to do so.”
2020 AusCycling Cyclist of the Year Award Winners
The "Oppy" Medal - 2020 AusCycling Cyclist of the Year
Male & Female Track Cyclist of the Year
Male & Female Road Cyclist of the Year
Grace Brown (VIC)
Richie Porte (TAS)
Male & Female Mountain Biker of the Year
Male & Female BMX Racing Rider of the Year
Saya Sakakibara (NSW)
Anthony Dean (SA)
Male & Female BMX Freestyle Rider of the Year
Natalya Diehm (QLD)
Brandon Loupos (NSW)
Male & Female Para-Cyclist of the Year (Road
Meg Lemon (SA)
Stuart Jones (NSW)
Male & Female Para-Cyclist of the Year (Track)
Emily Petricola (VIC)
David Nicholas (QLD)
Male & Female ESport Cyclist of the Year