NOT many cyclists can lay claim to beating Tour de France winner Cadel Evans this year but Rockhampton sprint queen Anna Meares achieved that feat at the weekend.
Meares was left "speechless" after winning the People's Choice Award ahead of Evans at the Australian Cyclist of the Year awards in Sydney on Friday night.
Voted on by the public, Meares pipped Evans and fellow road cyclists Matt Goss, Mark Renshaw, Stuart O'Grady and Steele Von Hoff for the top honour.
It capped a big 48 hours for Meares, who also took home the Female Track Cyclist of the Year award on Friday night.
The 28-year-old was inducted into the Australian Institute of Sport Hall of Fame at the AIS awards in Canberra on Thursday night, as well as being named the AIS Athlete of the Year and joining team-mate Kaarle McColloch in winning the AIS Team of the Year award.
Speaking to The Morning Bulletin yesterday, Adelaide-based Meares said she was left stunned when her name was announced as the people's choice winner.
"My mouth just dropped and I was like 'are you serious'," said Meares, who was joined by her Middlemount parents, Tony and Marilyn, at the awards.
"I've never been speechless in my life when I got up on stage."
Meares also won the People's Choice Award in 2008 after her courageous silver medal at the Beijing Olympics just months after breaking her neck in a serious track fall.
One of Australian sport's most respected competitors, Meares said she was proud to win the award once again as it was "voted on by people that follow and love the sport".