Posted by: jkirkby8712 | July 24, 2011

Sunday, 24th July 2011 – the morning after!!

I just had to include this written report, by Tom Wald [Nine’s Wide World of Sports], 24th July 2011

‘Cadel Evans stands on the brink of one of Australia’s greatest sporting achievements after claiming the yellow jersey for Sunday’s final stage of the Tour de France.  Starting the day trailing Andy Schleck by 57 seconds, the Australian produced a masterful performance in Saturday’s 42.5km time trial in and around Grenoble to seize a one minute and 34 second advantage.  Evans finished second in the time trial, just seven seconds behind Tony Martin.

Cadel Evans

Cadel Evans, waves on the podium after competing in the 42,5 km individual time-trial and twentieth stage of the 2011 Tour de France. Picture: Lionel Bonaventure / AFP

The last stage to Paris is traditionally a procession for riders in the overall classification with the main action coming from the sprinters on the Champs Elysees. Evans is keeping his celebrations on ice for now.  “There’s always more to go … we’ve still got to cross the finish line in Paris tomorrow, that’s my main focus right now actually getting through there without any trouble,” Evans told SBS television.  “Today I just went through the processes like we have a plan everyday … the plan was a,b,c,d and follow the plan and do the best we can.”  On Saturday, Evans scorched around the undulating course in the heart of the French Alps in HH minutes and HH seconds in overcast conditions.

After near misses in the 2007 and 2008 editions of the Tour, Evans’ triumph is a massive moment for the sport in Australia.  The victory makes the 34-year-old the oldest winner of the Tour in the 88 years since Henri Pelissier finished on top in 1923.  Such has been the dominance of Europeans at the Tour, that Evans is only the third champion to have come from outside the continent’s clutches.\ Evans’ performance also ticks one of the few remaining boxes on Australian sport’s to do list. The weight of the achievement must be considered up there with the nation’s finest sporting moments such as Australia II winning the 1983 America’s Cup in New York. It completes a remarkable journey after growing up in the Northern Territory and almost being killed at the age of eight after being kicked in the head by a horse.

Evans moved to Victoria in his teenage years and made his name as a mountain biker before transferring his talents to the road. After being less than a minute away in 2007 and 2008 from capturing cycling’s holy grail, Evans struggled with favouritism in 2009.  However only months after his disappointing 30th finish, he became the first Australian to win the men’s road race world title. He changed teams in late 2009 and went to BMC, a   elbow from a crash at last year’s Tour ruining his chances of challenging the leaders. On this year’s tour, he has not had as much pressure on himself and Saturday was the first day that he had worn the yellow jersey. He had been happy to mark his time before the time trial with spirited pursuits of lead groups in the final two mountain stages proving pivotal to his success. Evans’ cleanskin reputation is a bonus for cycling’s image as it tries to clean up its reputation following decades of drugs controversies. Ex-teammates of seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong have accused him of taking banned substances while three-time winner Alberto Contador tested positive for anabolic agent clenbuterol at last year’s Tour. The Spanish Cycling Federation cleared him of any offence and Contador’s appeal will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) from August 1-3. Brian Kirkham was the first Australian to ride in the Tour in 1914 with the legendary Hubert Opperman participating for the first time in 1928. But it wasn’t until 1981 that an Australian slipped on the yellow jersey for the first time in Phil Anderson.\  Since then several Australians have worn the famous jersey but only Evans has threatened to climb to the top step on the Champs Elysees with it on.   His dream will be realised [formally] on Sunday’.

 

 

 

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