It's hard to believe things could get any better for Gord Fraser.
The world-class road cyclist has piled up 26 victories this season, one better than his personal best set in 1999. He's ranked 139th in the International Cycling Union's men's rankings, his highest standing on a list dominated by European riders.
Fraser is riding with a confidence that can't help but lead to success, and the support of a strong team has put the Nepean native in perfect position for the Sydney Olympics.
After a number of difficult years, Fraser hit paydirt, signing with the Mercury Cycling Team in 1998.
The team offered Fraser great support, something he had never really experienced before. Mercury instils a "team-first" philosophy, which has proven extremely beneficial for Fraser.
The 31-year-old will compete in the men's road race Sept. 27 in Sydney, his only Olympic test.
Fraser has been rated among the best in a one-day event, with his sprinting abilities often giving him the advantage over his competitors.
One of those being American Lance Armstrong, the two-time defending Tour de France champion.
Fraser beat Armstrong this past year at his opening BMC criterium in Austin, Tex., Armstrong's hometown.
In the opening stage of the Criterium International in France last March, Fraser beat Stuart O'Grady of Ireland in a finishing sprint for the victory.
He also won the 183-km Grand Prix de Rennes in France, averaging 44.1 km/h.
As he winds down his year of success, Fraser also hopes to sign a two-year deal with Mercury, which is studying the possibility of competing in Europe for the 2001 season.
But for now, Fraser is keeping his eye on the Olympics, where a medal would make a memorable season even more special.
-- LISA BURKE
-- Ottawa Sun
Men's road race: Gord Fraser, Nepean, Ont., finished 16th in final.
2000 Games Cycling Coverage