The Best Canadian Cyclists: The Great White North on Two Wheels
Canada has always owned a stronghold in the world of professional cycling; riders past and present from the Great White North have achieved some remarkable accomplishments in the sport. Join us in celebrating Canada’s most talented on two wheels as we preview some of the most notable Canadian cyclists.
Team: UCI WorldTeam Israel-Premier Tech
Born and raised in the East York area of Ontario, Canada, 35-year-old Michael Woods wasn’t always accustomed to the rubber on tarmac lifestyle. Woods initially had his heart set on professional hockey before he eventually broke national junior records as a runner, a career that was cut short due to injuries.
Racing entered his life by mistake whilst cross-training during his post-surgery recovery. After graduating from a track athletic scholarship in 2008, Wood began professional cycling in 2013 under the Team Quebecor Garneau banner.
Woods is well known in his province. He is notably one of Canada’s most favored active cyclists. Ontario sports betting enthusiasts can now support their favorite riders since the legalization of sports betting in Ontario was birthed in April of this year.
Cycling isn’t the most straightforward sport to wager on. Still, Woods notably won the 17th stage of the Vuelta a Espana in 2018, to then finish 3rd in the road world championships the same year – this was Canada’s first podium finish at the championships since Steve Bauer in 1984. After winning the 100th edition of Milano-Torino in late 2019, Woods joined Israel-Premier after a 2020 Summer Olympics fifth-placed finish in the men’s road race. Keep your betting tickets close, as Woods has already obtained two 2nd place finishes in 2022.
Team: Trek-Segafredo (former, most recent)
A list of notable Canadian cyclists wouldn’t be complete without the 2012 Giro d’Italia winner, Ryder Hesjedal.
Ryder became the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour, obtaining the gold in the general classification at the Giro d’Italia in 2012. And then, in 2014, his accomplishments extended when he won a stage at the Vuelta a Espana, a decade after his first stage win at the Spanish Grand Tour. These wins were significant in Canadian cycling as the first-ever Vuelta stage wins by a Canadian athlete.
Team: UCI Women’s WorldTeam DSM
Representing Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 31-year-old Leah Kirchmann is a two-time Olympic team representative and one of the best women ever to hit the road.
On a national scale, she excelled in her come up and then went on to get a podium at the inaugural edition of La Course, a race where she’s finished 2nd and 3rd on separate occasions. She also won stages of the Tour of California and Giro Rosa.
Her most notable feat stems from the Canadian road championships, where she won the road race, time trial, and the criterium, therefore becoming the first woman to win all three titles in the same year (2014).
Team: Cliff Pro Team
Girl power continues as we can’t ignore the achievements of Catharine Pendrel; the New Brunswick native was 40-years old and had given birth seven months prior when the Canadian nationals called her up for the 2020 Olympics.
Pendrel is a legend in mountain biking; her reign started when collecting the World Cup overall title in 2010, followed by a world championship-winning title in 2011. She collected another world championship in 2014, including a Commonwealth Games gold medal and a silver during the Toronto Pan Am Games.
The highlight of Pendrel’s career arrived at the 2016 Rio Games when she avenged the disappointment from her previous Olympics in London 2012 when obtaining third place and a bronze medal.
Team: GreenEdge/Rally UHC Cycling (former, most recent)
Hailing from British Columbia, Canada, Svein Tuft is no longer competing professionally, but his accolades should still be dually noted.
Tuft is an eleven-time national trim trial champion and a two-time national road race champion. He spent over a decade competing against the most elite road cyclists and eventually retired in 2019, aged 42.
Tuft retired with Rally UHC rider team, but he’d previously assisted team GreenEdge in winning the time trial stage of the Tour de France (2013). A year later, he’d further assist them in taking the team time trial stage victory at the Giro d’Italia.