• Caleb Ewan celebrates during the Tour de France (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Caleb Ewan's outstanding Tour de France debut has sealed his first Australian cyclist of the year award.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
AAP
17 Dec 2019 - 9:18 AM 

Ewan was named the winner of the 'Oppy' - the Sir Hubert Opperman Medal - at Monday night's Cycling Australia annual awards function in Brisbane.

The sprint ace was under plenty of pressure heading into the Tour but duly delivered, with three stage wins.

It was Ewan's most successful season so far as he also added to his Grand Tour bounty with two more stage wins in May's Giro d'Italia.

He had 10 wins for the year and was also relegated after crossing the line first at a stage in January's Tour Down Under.

Ewan was a controversial last-minute omission last year from Mitchelton-Scott's Tour de France team.

Following months of speculation, the 25-year-old then transferred to the Belgian Lotto Soudal team.

Ewan's lead-out man Kluge reveals he suffered stroke
Roger Kluge who piloted Aussie Caleb Ewan to victories at the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia this season has revealed he suffered a stroke in 2018 and had heart surgery last month to reduce further risk, he told German publication Moz.

While Ewan had racked up the two Giro stage wins, among several other successes, his focus was the Tour.

After four top-three finishes, he broke through on stage 11 into Toulouse and then capped off his Tour debut by taking out the famed final stage on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

It is the sixth-straight year that a male road cyclist has won the Oppy. 

Ewan beat two-time world time trial champion Rohan Dennis to also take out the men's elite road category.

The pint-sized sprinter is at a team training camp in Majorca and accepted the award via video link.

"It's a massive honour for me to win this award, it's the biggest award you can get as a cyclist in Australia," Ewan said.

"I was up against some quite good competition."

Amanda Spratt won the women's elite road category for the second year in a row, while world champions Sam Welsford and Ashlee Ankudinoff took out the elite track awards.

Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Madison gold medallists Brett Aitken and Scott McGrory, Olympian and world champion Kate Bates and Australia's first world champion Bob Spears were inducted into the Cycling Australia Hall of Fame.