TORONTO, ON (NEWS1130) – Victoria cyclist Ryder Hesjedal has won the Lionel Conacher Award as Canadian Press Male Athlete of the Year. The Giro d’Italia champion edged professional tennis player Milos Raonic.

Hesjedal became the first Canadian rider to win one of the European Grand Tour cycling races, when he claimed the 23-day tour that covered 3,500 kilometres.

The 32-year-old was unable to follow up his performance with a strong showing at the Tour de France as he crashed out.

It was a close vote. Hesjedal had 32 first place votes and finished with nine more points than Raonic. Rounding out the top three was Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos and figure skater Patrick Chan also received a significant number of first-place votes.

It could very well turn into a BC sweep of the awards, as Christine Sinclair will be the likely winner of the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year. The winner will be announced tomorrow.