Photo Special: Good-Bye Cadel Evans
Photo Special: Cadel Evans’ career has been long, very long, so there are even more photos of the Tour and World championship winner to chose from. He had the class to change from mountain biker to road rider and carry on winning. We have tried to cover Cadel’s life on two wheels, but it could fill PEZ for months!
Cadel Evans has not retired yet, his last race will be the Great Ocean Race on the 1st of February 2015, which will pass through his home town of Barwon Heads, starting and finishing in Geelong. His home race will bring down the curtain on a long, diverse and successful career in cycling.
As a small boy he was a keen skateboarder and BMX’er and from there moved on to mountain bike racing and in 1995 he received a scholarship from the Australian Institute of Sport Mountain Bike program. While Evans was at the Australian Institute of Sport, physiological tests showed he possessed a rare combination; an unusually high lung volume and the capacity to absorb more oxygen from each breath than 99.9 per cent of the population. This ability led to him becoming affectionately known as ‘The Lung’.
He started his international career riding his first World championships as a junior in 1994 where he finished 5th. He also rode the ’96 Olympic MTB race. In 1997 he joined the Diamond Back team and took his first silver medal in the Under 23 World Cross-country championships, in 1998 he also won the Mountain Bike World Cup before moving to Volvo-Cannondale.
In 1999 he took this second Under 23 silver medal at the World championship’s in Áre, Sweden. The course was muddy and very slippery and (as I remember, being the GB team mechanic at the race) at the finish there was a bit of a tussle with Evans finishing second, he won the MTB World Cup that year also.
In 1998 he started to mix MTB and road, at the end of the year he was 9th in the Under 23 World time trial championships which were won by another retiring BMC rider; Thor Hushovd, he beat USA’s David Zabriskie who was 11th.
1999 saw Cadel move into a transition period; riding the Tour Down Under, finishing 12th overall, with a few other races in Australia and the UCI 1.HC Giro dell’Emilia (27th) at the end of the year. During 2000 he worked with Michele Ferrari, but only for testing purposes, with a view to riding full time with the Saeco team which also used Cannondale bike, the same as his Volvo MTB team. With Saeco in 2001 he won the Tour of Austria overall with a stage win, 2nd in the Japan Cup, 6th in the Giro dell’Apennino and 8th overall in the Bayern Rundfarht, with lots of other hight placings. In 2002 he was off to the Mapei team.
2002 was a big year and one that proved that he could ride the road with success. 3rd overall in the Tour de Romandie and the Coppi e Bartali, 4th in the Tour Down Under with a stage win, 6th in Pais Vasco and 10th in Paris-Nice. His best appearance was in the Giro d’Italia, he finished 14th but took the Pink jersey on stage 16 and was looking good until the last climb of the 222 kilometres stage 17 from Badia to Folgaria and with 9 kilometres to go; Evans cracked and lost contact with the leaders. He also became Commonwealth Games time trial champion
2002 was also the year he met his wife to be; Chiara Passerini.
Cadel then moved to Telekom in 2003 which became T-Mobile in 2004. ’03 wasn’t a great year, no wins and his best result was 10th overall in the Tour Down Under, he started the Vuelta a España, but did not sign-on for stage 4.
2004 was better: He won the Tour of Austria again with a stage win, 4th in both Giro di Lombardia and Milano-Torino. He rode and finished the Vuelta a España, but without lighting any fires.
2005 and a new team, Davitamon-Lotto. He stayed with them for seven years through it’s changes to Predictor-Lotto to Silence-Lotto. A stage in the Tour of Germany, was the only win in ’05, but he finished 8th overall in the Tour de France, 5th in the Tour of Germany, 8th in Paris-Nice, but his 5th in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and 9th in La Flèche Wallonne showed his class in the one day Classics.
Fourth place overall in the 2006 Tour de France pointed to his future. Evans won the Tour de Romandie, beating Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde on the last stage which was a 20 km time trial around Lausanne. 7th in California and lots of top ten positions made it a solid year.
2007 was his best year so far. 2nd overall in the Tour de France (1 stage win) and the Dauphiné Libéré and 4th overall in the Vuelta a España and the Tour de Romandie would be enough for most he also took 5th in the World championships and 6th in the Giro di Lombardia and the Giro dell’Emilia. With his consistency he was the UCI ProTour winner.
Second again in the 2008 Tour de France along with 2nd in the Dauphiné Libéré, Flèche Wallonne, Pais Vasco, 3rd in the Ruta del Sol and winning the Coppi e Bartali, 6th in Giro Dell’Emelia and 7th in Liège. Then in the Beijing Olympic Games he was 5th in the Time trial and 15th in the road race. Evans did hold the Yellow jersey in the Tour for four days until Carlos Sastre took more than 2 minutes out of him on l’Alpe d’Huez.
2009 was his last year with the Lotto set-up and he nearly brought them a Grand Tour win in Spain, if it hadn’t been for a puncture and a less that fast wheel change. Second in the Dauphinè Libèrè after winning the prologue was good, but there was better to come.
After a fairly average Tour, Evans led the Vuelta a España for a day and was handily placed to challenge for the win, but on the Sierra Nevada a puncture at the wrong time ended his hopes, but he did come out of the race with good form heading towards the World championships.
What the year did bring him was a Rainbow jersey. Evans won the men’s World Championship road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland with a strong attack and a solid solo to the finish. At the end of the year he made his last team change to BMC.
2010 started well with 6th in the Tour Down Under, 3rd in Tirreno-Adriatico, 1st in Flèche Wallonne and 4th in Liège. the Giro d’Italia was very successful as the World champion finished 5th overall, won the Points jersey and was 4th in the KOM.
The most memorable moment was on stage 7 in Tuscany racing on the unpaved roads used in the Italian semi-classic Montepaschi Strade Bianche. Evans won the stage covered in mud making the Rainbow jersey nearly unrecognisable.
Cadel’s Tour was compromised by a hairline fracture in his left elbow making climbing and riding the time trial very difficult, he held the Yellow jersey for one day, but improved on his 24th overall the next year.
You could argue that 2011 was the best year in Cadel Evans career. Wins in Tirreno-Adriatico, tour de Romandie, 2nd in the Dauphinè and 7th in the USA Pro Challenge and Catalunya.
Then he had the big result: The Tour de France. He won the overall and was 4th in the KOM and Points competitions. With a stage win and nine finishes in the top ten, the French Grand Tour was a complete success for the Australian.
A homecoming parade was held on his return to Australia, tens of thousands of people turned out, many dressed in yellow and waving yellow flags, in Melbourne’s Federation Square. A state reception was held in his honour.
2012 was always going to have a hard time living up to the previous year. The hight point was the Critérium International; overall, points and a stage win and 3rd overall and the points jersey in the Dauphiné. The Tour brought him 7th overall with back to back 2nd spots on stage 7 & 8. He was selected to ride for Australia at the London Olympics but retired early for the season due to fatigue.
3rd in the 2013 Tour of Oman started the year well, then 8th overall in Trentino brought Cadel to the Giro in fine form to finish 3rd overall and 3rd in the Mountains competition and he finished in the top ten on 10 stages. At the Tour he was bellow par and didn’t show well finishing 39th overall. A stage win in the Tour of Alberta in September was his only victory.
As a final year, 2014 was quite full, although Cadel did not ride the Tour de France, he still squeezed in a Giro d’Italia and a Vuelta a España. A return to the Tour Down Under was very popular with his home fans. Finishing 2nd overall, 4th in the Points jersey and taking a stage win went down very well. Back in Europe things were going well: 5th in Haut Var, 7th in Strade Bianche, 7th in Pais Vasco and then winning the Giro del Trentino with two stage wins and never being lower than 5th on any of the four stage. 8th overall in the Giro d’Italia with consistently high stage finishes.
After 11th in the Tour du Suisse it was off to Utah for two stage wins and 6th overall, before coming back to Spain for la Vuelta.
His last Grand Tour was quite average with his best finishes being two 6th places.
Last big race of the year was the Giro di Lombardia, 25th place in the chase group.
Cadel Evans had a long career, from mountain bike success to road success with quite a few hard times and problems thrown in, but he kept at it and filled a very good palmarés. Evans picked up the nickname ‘cuddles’ from a journalist who felt he had been snubbed and also there was the “don’t step on my dog!” occasion. I’ve interviewed Cadel on two occasions, the first in 2011 and then again in 2012 and on both occasions he answered all the question, was honest and funny. He has given a lot to charity and supports many good causes and his young son, Robel, was rescued from the streets of Shashamane, Ethiopia. Basically Cadel Evans is a good guy. May he be happy in his new life with Chiara and Robel.