Cadel Lee Evans received his first bicycle at the age of two and rode it every day until he was seven, facilitating an obsession with bikes that would see him become a member of the Australian National Mountain Bike Team, a World Champion, Olympian, two-time Tour de France runner-up and first and only Australian Tour de France winner; in short, Australia's greatest ever cyclist.
At age 15, Cadel competed in the Australian National Championships, in the sub-Junior (U - 17) category and was second in the cross country and won the hillclimb. After this event, Evans was keen to go further in the sport and he acquired the services of his coach to this day, Damian Grundy, one of the best riders in Australia at the time and coach of the national team.
Cadel had established himself as a world-class mountain biker, but consigned his mountain bike career to the past in order to concentrate on his dream of making it as a world-class road cyclist, having been wooed to switch to the road by the world's top-rated team, Italian trade outfit Mapei-Quick Step.
Expectations were high for Cadel to pick up where he left off in mountain bikes in road cycling, with the Tour de France, the pinnacle of the sport, his major aim.
For the 2005 season, he signed with Davitamon-Lotto, and on his first Tour de France demonstrated that this was something he was born to do, often riding in the maillot jaune group of cycling greats Lance Armstrong, Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich. By the end of the tour he had achieved eighth place in the overall General Classification, only the second top ten finish by an Australian in the event's history.
In 2006, he won the Tour de Romandie and finished 5th in the GC of the Tour de France, equalling Phil Anderson's highest overall position by an Australian in cycling's biggest race.
In 2007, Cadel Evans became the highest ever placed Australian in the Tour de France by finishing second, and the first Australian to win the UCI ProTour.
Cadel finished second in the Tour de France again in 2008, just 58 seconds in arrears of race winner Carlos Sastre. His performances in the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España - he has worn the leaders jersey in all of them - place him in a truly elite bracket of road cyclists.
In 2009 he won the World Championship road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland on 27 September and his biography, Cadel Evans: Close to Flying, co-authored by Rob Arnold and Cadel, was published later that year.
In 2010, Cadel joined the BMC Racing Team as its leader, winning La Flèche Wallonne and riding a successful Giro d'Italia where he claimed victory in the points classification, a stage win, and fifth place overall. Again a serious contender for the victory in Paris in the Tour de France, Cadel held the yellow jersey for one day before losing time on the following stage after suffering a hairline fracture in his elbow in one of the race's many crashes. His courage, strength and determination saw him finish the race in 26th place.
The crowning glory of his already illustrious career came on July 24, 2011, when he rode into the Avenue des Champs-Élysées on the final stage of the Tour de France wearing the leader's yellow jersey, making him the first and only Australian to win the world's most prestigious race. As leader of BMC Racing, Cadel rode what many commentators have called 'the perfect tour', claiming the maillot jaune on the individual time trial on the penultimate stage of the Tour. Evans rode fearlessly through the Alps in the Tour's final week, matching his main rivals - Luxembourg's Andy and Franck Schleck - every step of the way, before setting a blistering pace in the race of truth and claiming a victory berth of 1:34.
Cadel Evans travels from Victoria Australia
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