Cycling Canada Hall of Fame
Six More Legends are Inducted in 2016
On Oct. 1-2, Canada's Who's Who of cycling gathered at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Ont. for some superb racing and the second annual Cycling Canada Hall of Fame inductions. The official plaque unveiling held on Oct. 1 was followed by the Ride with Legends p/b Lexus and a fabulous luncheon induction ceremony on Oct. 2.
The honoured class of 2016 Hall of Fame inductees entering the Hall of Fame included Alex Stieda, Gord Fraser, Marie-Hélène Prémont and Brian Walton in the Athlete category, Louise Lalonde in the Builder category and Canada's 1908 men's Team Pursuit squad as Earlier Era Athletes.
The official plaque unveiling was held during a break in the action at the Milton International Challenge. Fraser, Lalonde, Stieda and Walton were all smiles for the cameras when the banner was revealed displaying their legacy to the sport. The inductees joined guests and supporters for a VIP cocktail on the velodrome infield as the final session of racing began.
We were stoked to see a very proud Joan Fraser (Gord's mother) in the crowd, who remarked that she's “still getting Pedal Magazine.”
The next day, morning sunshine greeted 100 fans who converged at the Crosswinds Golf and Country Club in Burlington, Ont. for the inaugural Ride with Legends p/b Lexus event despite an early-morning drizzle that soon yielded to beautiful sunshine.
Cycling stars from across Canada suited up to join new inductees Fraser, Stieda and Walton and other Hall of Fame luminaries such as Steve Bauer, Curt Harnett and Gord Singleton, along with Rio Olympic track stars Kirsti Lay, Kate O'Brien and Hugo Barrette. Later on, we got a close-up peek at Lay's Team Pursuit bronze medal from the Rio Summer Games.
Harnett held court at the ride's quick sendoff then guests rubbed shoulders with the stars on the 50-kilometre or 70-kilometre routes on a superb fall-morning jaunt through the region's fabulous trails, complete with Lexus support vehicles on hand.
Under bright sunshine, we cycled past a few golfers, as the weather gods delivered a near-perfect day. Later, however, to keep us all honest, Mother Nature unleashed dark clouds and a severe downpour at the end of the ride that spared no one.
After a quick shower post-ride, guests were soon clinking glasses and sharing stories, new and old. As everyone took their seats, emcee Randy Ferguson got things underway as the proceedings began with a touching tribute to Jocelyn Lovell, a 2015 inductee and legendary Canadian star during the 1970's and 1980's, who passed away earlier this year.
Each of the inductees then took the stage to standing ovations, as they regaled guests with stories of their past and the many people who helped them achieve their goals and dreams along the way. The biggest laugh went to Lalonde, who began her esteemed career as a commissaire after experiencing her first bike race. “It was amazing to see so many men's legs – I knew I had to come back,” she quipped.
The day ended with closing comments by Cycling Canada's pres-
1908 MEN'S TEAM PURSUIT
1908 Olympic bronze medal – 4,000-metre Team Pursuit: William Anderson, Walter Andrews, Frederick McCarthy and Willie Morton. At the London 1908 Olympic Games, Canada sent a team of 91 athletes, of which 16 won medals. The men's Team Pursuit was 1,980 yards (1,810.5 metres), which was three laps of the track. In addition to the men's Team Pursuit, the four combined for an additional 22-event entries at those Games.
Gord Fraser was a three-time Olympian and five-time Commonwealth Games competitor who logged more than 200 Individual race or stage victories in his career. He is considered the most successful Professional sprinter in North America. In addition to his three wins in the Tour de Langkawi (2000, 2001 and 2004), he has also had wins in the Grand Prix du Midi Libre, Criterium International and Grand Prix Rennes. Other highlights included winning two National Racing Calendar season Points titles, a Canadian National Championship and a memorable silver medal in the 1999 Pan Am Games on home soil where Brian Walton won the gold. His top Olympic result was 16th in Sydney, Australia.
The primary focus at sporting events is rightfully on the participants, but behind the scenes are individuals who provide the framework that ensures the competition takes place. One such person is cycling commissaire Louise Lalonde. Highly regarded as an international commissaire for road, track and para-cycling, Lalonde has also officiated in mountain biking, cyclocross, BMX and served as an anti-doping officer. She has assisted at countless events, from local races to the Olympics to tenure on the Cycling Canada Officials' Committee. Lalonde was also the first person certified by the Union Cycliste Internationale to train commissaires in the discipline of para-cycling and she wrote the initial curriculum.
Marie-Helene Prémont was the National champion in the cross-country mountain-bike discipline from 2003 to 2009. Internationally, her record is outstanding, including 2008 when she won a medal in every World Cup she entered (two gold, three silver and three bronze). The two-time Olympian claimed the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games to add to her World Cup gold medals obtained in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, she was second overall in the World Cup standings and fourth overall in 2011. She won a Commonwealth Games gold in 2006 and Pan Am Championships gold in 2000 and 2001.
Alex Stieda was the first North American to wear the Tour de France yellow jersey on the second day of the 1986 Tour de France. He went on to wear five jerseys in total that year, including the polka dot for Best Climber, white for Best Rookie, red for Intermediate Points, and the combination. After losing the yellow, Stieda held on to the polka-dot jersey for an additional five days over the hills of northern France. At the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia, he won a bronze medal in the Individual Pursuit and claimed the same result at the 1983 Universiade.
Brian Walton represented Canada at the Olympic Games on three occasions, with 1996 being the most successful, given his silver-medal performance in the track Points race. He was also a three-time 1995 Pan Am Games medalist with a gold in the road race and Points race and a bronze medal in the Individual Pursuit. At the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Man., Walton defended his road race title with another gold-medal performance. Walton won numerous international races, including the 1989 Milk Race during his 12-year Professional career.
(facing page) Class of 2016 Hall of Fame inductees (l-r): Alex Stieda, Louise Lalonde, Brian Walton, Gord Fraser (absent Marie-Hélène Prémont, Canada’s 1908 men’s
Team Pursuit squad)
(left) Official plaque unveiling at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre.
(below left) Inaugural Ride with Legends p/b Lexus was a big success.
ident, John Tolkamp, who congratulated the inductees and remarked that “the Hall of Fame is an important part of honouring contributors to the sport in Canada.” Then it was time for photo opps with the inductees and their crystal awards, along with farewells until next time.