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Graham Ronald McVilly (Member 2008)
4 May 1948 - 21 April 2002
Introduced to cycling at George Town, Graham McVilly enjoyed the rough and tumble cycling culture which that town spawned. It helped him to develop the mental and physical toughness so necessary for success on both the road and the track.
His first major win was in the Launceston Wheel Race in 1967, while he was still an amateur. The next year he was the Tasmanian Amateur Road Cycling Champion, illustrating the versatility required to become a great cyclist. Graham turned professional in 1969. He won the Tasmanian Professional Road Championship and rode second in the prestigious Sun Tour of that year. In 1970, he became the Australian Road Cycling title holder, won the Latrobe Wheel and was again second in the Sun Tour.
1971 was a stellar year for 'Macca'. He won the Australian Road title, the Austral Wheel, the West Australian Road title, the Sun Tour, the Werribee Three Day Tour and he was awarded the Sir Hubert Opperman Trophy as the Australian Cyclist of the Year.
He won the Sun Tour again in 1973, the Peninsula Tour, the Sir Hubert Opperman Trophy once more and was selected for Australia to compete at the World Road Cycling Championships. He then travelled to Europe in 1973 and spent two seasons riding in the teams events with the outstanding Peugot and Gitane teams.
He returned to Australia to win the Sun Tour, the Peninsula Tour and represented his country again at the World Titles. These successes just added to the widely held view that Graham was Australia's best road cyclist of the 1970s. In fact, that assertion is borne out by his Australian Road Cyclist of the Year rankings on the international cycling website, which list him as fourth in 1969, first in 1970, 1971 and 1973, and second in 1974.
At the 2001 50th Anniversary of the Sun Tour, 'Macca' was honoured as one of three Legends of the Tour. In the same year, Australia Post released a limited edition stamp and envelope honouring Graham and his cycling feats. His other sporting love was equestrian, but that sport was to tragically take his life in April 2002. Cycling, and indeed Tasmania, lost one of its great sporting talents.