After twice finishing the worlds most prestigious cycling race in second, 2011 was Cadel Evans year to take a decisive victory. Evans becomes the first Australian to win the Tour de France and only stepped into yellow in the penultimate Individual Time Trial stage where he overtook the first and second placed Team Leopard brothers, Andy and Frank Schleck.
The win has captured Australian media attention and being compared to great Australian sporting acheivements such as the 1983 America’s Cup victory or cricketer Sir Donald Brandman’s career succcess. Even though there is talk of a national public holiday in Australia and the win by Cadel Evans is being coverted as an Australian success, the Tour de France racing is still a team based challenge with other Australian cyclists including Tour de France veteran Stuart O’Grady of Team Leopard working first to secure the success of his own team riders.
None the less, fellow Australian cyclists share a deep sense of pride, most share a friendship with Cadel and have ridden in World Championships and Olympic races together.
The win will, without doubt, stimulate both cycling in Australia, a country already recognised as a strong sports cycling nation. Also in other disciplines and in recreational and commuter cycling – the positive coverage and media attention will inevitably rub-off on the popularity of cycling.
Look forward to seeing yellow clad cyclists in the coming weeks as well as the Team BMC colours black and red.
Congratulations Cadel Evans, Team BMC and the support team and family for making history.