Sam Bennett's superb season was recognised by Cycling Ireland at its awards night on Saturday, with the Carrick-on-Suir sprinter given the accolade for international performance of the year. Bennett's three stage wins in the Giro d'Italia were his main success, although he took several other victories at other points in the year.
“Winning these awards tonight is an acknowledgement of the results I have been trying to achieve for 10 years,” said Bennett, who also got one of six special achievement awards handed out.
“I moved away from home when I was 18 years old, and there have been times since then when I didn’t think I could do it. To see the support I have had through that from Irish cycling and from everyone in the room is amazing, and for that I’m very grateful.”
Lara Gillespie also took two prizes, getting a special achievement award and being named Cycling Ireland's female rider of the year. Her successes included gold and silver medals at the European junior track championships.
Cycling Ireland's male rider of the year was national road race champion Conor Dunne.
Other winners included paracycling double world champions Katie-George Dunlevy and pilot Eve McCrystal; mountainbike riders Leah Maunsell and Greg Callaghan; three time masters mountainbike world champion Robin Seymour; Cycling Ireland secretary Jack Watson; and the Scott-Orwell Wheelers squad, which took club of the year.