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Australian Olympic boss backs Evans as flag bearer

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates admits it would be a break from tradition however; Cadel Evans would make an excellent choice as flag bearer at the London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Whoever has the honour of carrying the Australian flag during the Parade of Nations will be announced on the eve of the opening ceremony, with AOC chef de mission Nick Green making the final decision.

Cadel Evans, who next week will begin his defence of his 2011 Tour de France title would make an excellent choice to fulfil the role, according to Coates.

"It's a very difficult decision for Nick, but he shouldn't necessarily be tied to who has been to the most Olympic Games," Coates told ABC Grandstand.

"The team could get great inspiration from someone who has been internationally recognised [in their sport].

"I'd be very relaxed about breaking from tradition if Cadel Evans won his second Tour de France."

Traditionally, the role goes to someone who has represented at multiple Olympic Games. James Tomkins (rowing) was contesting his sixth Olympics when he had the honour in 2008, as had sailor Colin Beashel in 2004. Basketball legend Andrew Gaze was competing in his fifth Olympics when he carried the flag in Sydney.

If selected in the Australian team, Evans would be competing in his fourth Olympics having competed in Beijing in 2008 and in mountain biking in Sydney in 2000 and 1996.

Adding to the conundrum is the fact that the opening ceremony for the London Games takes place the evening prior to the men’s road race.

Fellow Australian cyclist Stuart O'Grady, if selected, will be competing in his sixth Olympic Games having won a gold medal in the madison in 2004, two bronze medals from 1996 in the points race and as part of the team pursuit, while in 1992 he won a silver medal in the team pursuit.

Both cyclists could face strong competition from three-time equestrian gold medallist Andrew Hoy who is expected to be named today for his seventh Olympics. Shooter Russell Mark, who has won both a gold and silver medal, has been selected for his seventh Olympic appearance.


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