Prime Minister officially congratulates Tour winner
Cadel Evans and his achievement in becoming Australia's first ever Tour de France winner has been lauded as Federal Parliament returned from its five-week winter break.
In her opening remarks in the first session of question time, Prime Minister Julia Gillard congratulated the BMC rider before getting on with the more pressing issues facing the nation.
"Cadel is a grand old Welsh name meaning 'battle', and battle he did - a tremendous battle showing great perseverance to win the Tour de France," she said.
It was the first time in recent memory that someone from the sporting field had been recognised in such a manner.
Evans arrived in the United States on Sunday to prepare for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and pointed out that that the Prime Minister's schedule had to be adjusted in order to fit into his before 72-hour visit home to Australia.
"The altitude is going to be hard that is why I got here as early as I could. They had to shuffle the Australian Prime Minister's schedule around just so that I could be here and have time to acclimatise," he said.
While in Australia, Evans was honoured in the Victorian capital, Melbourne, with around 25000 people attending a welcome home parade in Federation Square.
Continuing her speech in parliament, Prime Minister Gillard said that she had spoken to Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu who explained that the city was still buzzing.
"He [Baillieu] told me what a terrific event it was for Cadel and for his family, for the people of Victoria and, of course, for the people of Australia, who are all sharing in and celebrating this triumph with him."
Time has been set aside on Wednesday for Members of Parliament to also formally congratulate Evans.
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