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Cadel Evans Clinches Tour de France

  • July 24th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

cadel-evans-bmc-2011.jpgHe did it !!!

It has been a long campaign for Australian Cadel Evans, 34, but he has taken position to win the Tour de France in the mostly-ceremonial last leg, this Sunday, into the Champs Elysees.

Placed third overall at the start of the penultimate stage this weekend (23.7.11),  the Grenoble individual 42.5-kilometre time trial, he trailed his chief rival Andy Schleck of Luxembourg by 57 seconds, and Schleck’s brother Frank by four seconds.

He overtook both, actually winning the stage in a powerful ride, clocking 55 min. 40 sec., 2 mins. 32 faster than Andy Schleck, eclipsing Frank Schleck by a similar margin on the day, 23.7.11.

Said one commentator (British): “So mentally and physically well-prepared … he has absolutely slaughtered his rivals.”

Normally taciturn and concentrated, the man who had just taken on the mantle of a national sports hero  was smiling and shedding a tear as the last times came in.

cadel-evans-2010.jpgCadel Evans (picture, in team livery … yellow jersey tomorrow for Paris), a champion mountain bike rider, came into his own in the gruelling European classic, becoming the highest-placed Australian in that, and in several other major road cycling events.

He was placed second in the Tour de France in 2007 and 2008.

This year, with a new team, BMC, he conducted a focused, top-rider’s campaign, staying in second, third or fourth place all the way; limiting risks, but on occasion taking them, as in one spectacular down-hill run on a wet road – and here and there giving energy to meeting a sudden challenge from other riders.

He emphasised all the way he had to avoid getting too cautious, and was also very appreciative of the efforts of his team, to help him get into a position to win.

The man from  the Northern Territory was well supported from home; apart from the flags and kangaroo-toys along the route, thousands wearing the green and gold, folks in Eastern Australia stayed up until after midnight watching the live coverage on SBS Television; well-wishers sending messages of encouragement included the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

It’ll be Australia’s first victory in the world’s top event in the sport, fought out this time at the crucial stage by 167 contestants.