30 décembre 1999

Canadian Cyclists of the Century

Rob Jones

This was, without a doubt, the hardest selection we have every made, and is bound to generate controversy. However, we have put together our list of the top 25 Canadian Cyclists of this century.

Part of the difficulty is comparing riders of completely different eras and disciplines - it is not easy to look at Steve Bauer in the 1980s professional road scene, Alison Sydor in the 1990s mountain bike scene and Torchy Peden in the late 1920s and 30s professional 6-day track racing world !

We looked at how dominant the rider was within their discipline, and how deep the level of competition was. We also looked primarily at international results, rather than domestic, so some obvious national level riders will be missing from our list. One thing that is quite apparent from the list is how long and distinguished the list of Canadian cycling stars is.

We ranked the top-10, with the remainder listed alphabetically. In first place, it was... a tie. We could not honestly make a clear decision between Steve Bauer and Alison Sydor. If we went strictly by world titles, then Sydor is the clear winner; but if we looked at the depth of competition Bauer faced in the European pro ranks, then he had to be ranked at the top. So, we decided to recognize that both were dominant in their disciplines and jointly award them first place.

Third (Torchy Peden), and fourth (Jocelyn Lovell) were no easier. Their eras did not offer the opportunities that later ones did and, in many ways, both were the consummate all-rounders of their times.

Our initial list featured some 70 plus names, and it took some very strict pruning and discussions to whittle it down. We would particularly like to thank Roger Sumner, Lorne Atkinson and Joe deMaeyer for their assistance with the pre-1960 names. One other invaluable resource (particularly for pinning down exact dates of accomplishments) was William Humber's Freewheeling - Boston Mills Press, 1986. ISBN 0-919783-37-6.

So, for better or worse, here is our list.

25 Canadian Cyclists of the Century

1. Alison Sydor(3 times world champions, multiple silver and bronze world championship medals, 3 times World Cup winner, Number 1 world ranking, Olympic silver)
1. Steve Bauer(Olympic silver, World Championships bronze, 2nd Paris-Roubaix, many days in Tour de France Yellow Jersey, multiple World Cup and international wins)
3. Torchy Peden(dominant professional 6-day racer, 1928 Olympic team, multiple international wins and placings)
4. Jocelyn Lovell(multiple gold, silver, bronze Commonwealth Games and Pan Am medals, multiple international wins and placings)
5. Willie Spencer(2/3rds mile world record-1923; American championship-1922/23/26; world record-standing start 440 yard; world indoor titles-1922/23/25)
6. Curt Harnett(1 silver and 2 bronze Olympic medals, multiple world championships medals, 200m world record, numerous other international medals and placings)
7. Tanya Dubnicoff(1983 World Champion, World Cup winner, 3 time Pan Am Champion, multiple World Cup wins and world championships placings)
8. Karen Strong(World Championship silver and bronze medals, multiple international wins and placings)
9. Archie McEachern(World Champion-1900; 5 mile paced world record-1902)
10. Clara Hughes(2 bronze medals-1996 Olympics, Pan Ams medals, Commonwealth Games medals, HP International stage race winner, multiple international and national victories)
Lyne Bessette(Commonwealth Games gold medal, winner Tour de l'Aude, Pan Am Games silver medal, multiple international wins and placings)
Sylvia Burka(2 world records, 4th at World Championships, multiple international wins and placings)
Lew Elder(1/4 mile and 25 mile world records, 1928 Olympics team)
Pierre Gachon(first North American to ride in Tour de France-1937, professional 6-day racer)
Ron Hayman(member 1972/76 Olympics teams, Tour of Somerville winner, Coors Classic stage winner, top amateur in Belgium (1979), Tour of Ireland winner, multiple international wins and placings)
Linda Jackson(Commonwealth Games silver medal, World Championships bronze, HP International stage race winner, multiple international stage race wins and placings)
Genevieve Jeanson(double World Junior Champion, ITT World Championship Bronze medal)
Robert McLeod(Gold medal 10 mile mass start-1934 British Empire Games, multiple international wins and placings)
Willie 'Doc' Morton(Pan American Championship-1901; Bronze medal 4000M team pursuit-1908 Olympics)
Sara Neil(Tour de l'Aude bronze and Points title, Pan Am Games bronze, 4th Commonwealth Games, multiple international wins and placings)
Gord Singleton(multiple world records, Pan Am gold medals (2), World Champion, World Championship silver medal)
Alex Steida(first North American to wear Tour de France Yellow Jersey, multiple international wins and placings)
Brian Walton(Silver medal-1996 Olympics, Pan Am gold medal, World Cup victories and placings, multiple international victories and placings)
Kelly Ann Way(first Canadian to wear women's Tour de France Yellow Jersey, multiple wins and placings)
Eric Wohlberg(Pan Ams gold medal, Commonwealth Games gold medal, multiple international wins and placings)
Honourable Mention:
Cindy Devine(Downhill World Champion-1990, finished top-5 in the first 5 World Championships)
Joe Jones(a dominant Canadian road racer in the 1960s, 10th overall at the Milk Race)
Pat Murphy(dominant Canadian racer-1950s; Tour of Somerville course record-1955, North American Indoor champion, 1956 Olympic road race)

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