Two Victoria cyclists have been inducted into the inaugural Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame. The legendary Torchy Peden and Alison Sydor are among nine honoured, which will have its permanent home at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Ontario.
Torchy Peden was the most prominent Canadian cyclist in the highly competitive six-day race events that took place between 1929 and 1948. He was the world champion long-distance cyclist in 1934 and at the height of his career he earned as much as $50,000 a year – a huge sum during the depths of the great Depression. “Torchy” – so named by a 1927 columnist who described the red headed youngster as the “flame haired Victoria youth [who] led the pack like a torch” – was a tireless cyclist who missed winning at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics because of three tire punctures and food poisoning. He turned pro in 1930 and finished 145 of 148 races, winning 37 of them. He was inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.
Alison Sydor started cycling in Victoria with the Victoria Wheelers while attending UVic. Her first race was the BCGEU Criterium in 1987, and after some success locally, she made the BC team for the Western Canadian Games and won gold in all three cycling disciplines. Her career as a road racer began and culminated in her winning a first-ever road world championship medal for a Canadian woman in 1991 at Stuttgart, Germany, when she took bronze. By 1992 she was ranked third in the world and she competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, finishing 12th in the road race. Alison’s last big road goal was to race in the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, where only road disciplines were included. After a silver medal in the team time trial and a bronze in the road race, she put all her energies into the sport of mountain biking where she was a medal contender at the World Championship and Olympic Games level from her first silver World Championship medal in 1992 to her final medal in 2004. Alison had an incredible streak of 13 consecutive top-5 world championship results in the women’s cross-country. In that period she won twelve World Championships medals including cross-country World Champion in 1994, 1995 and 1996, and Team Relay world champion in 2002. In 1996, she won a silver medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games. She was inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
The other hall of fame inductees are:
The induction of this class will take place on Saturday, October 10th, in Milton, with the first Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame luncheon.