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Evans becomes the pride of Australia with Tour de France win

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
July 24, 2011, 22:50 BST,
Updated:
July 26, 2011, 8:31 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 25, 2011
Race:
Tour de France, Stage 21
Cadel Evans (BMC) gave Australia a big win.

Cadel Evans (BMC) gave Australia a big win.

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BMC rider remembers being inspired by seeing Indurain win in 1991

Cadel Evans stood smiling on the Tour de France podium with the Australian flag wrapped around his yellow jersey as he savoured the moment as the first ever Australian to win the Tour de France.

It has been a long journey for the tough Australian but he had finally achieved what he had dreamed of doing ever since seeing the Tour de France for the first time in 1991.

As the Australian national anthem rang out across Paris, Evans almost shed a tear but stood proud.

"I hope I brought a great deal of joy to my country and my countrymen. It's been a great deal for me to fly the flag for my country," he said.

"To stand on Champs Elysees with an Australian singing your national anthem is not a dream that comes true for many people but it has for me. It's amazing."

"It's been years of hard work and there were a lot of moment in the three weeks when our Tour de France was lost but having the yellow jersey for me, for my country and for me team, is huge. It makes me lost for words."

At 34, Evans is the oldest Tour de France winner since the second world war. It has been a long journey since he swapped a mountain bike for road racing.

"I think every young child is inspired by a lot things in life. Watching the Tour de France in 1991 and seeing Indurain win planted a seed in my head. That seed grew and grew. I had to go through some difficult moments and was really unlucky to finish second for two years. But that has made now even more special."

Evans rode a calculated race, chasing his rivals when he needed to and then taking the yellow jersey in the final time trial. Evans said the final kilometres of Saturday's ride against the clock was the best of the whole Tour.

"For me the real highlight of it all was the final three or four kilometres in the time trial," he said. "The hardest bit had been done and I knew that we were on the right track and close to victory."

A victory that was crowned on the Champs Elysees with an Australian flag wrapped around Evans' shoulders.

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