Watching the Tour's 12th stage to Luz-Ardiden on Saturday, Australian Federal Member of Parliament Ed Husic told Cyclingnews via Twitter that he would push for a national holiday if Cadel Evans goes on to wear the yellow jersey in Paris. Evans would be the first Australian to claim the honour.
The bold, but not impossible plan is steadily gaining momentum thanks to Evans' performance on Tuesday into Gap with the Australian taking advantage of a tricky descent off the Col de Manse, gaining three seconds on the Alberto Contador as well as 21 seconds on his general classification rivals, including current leader Thomas Voeckler. Meantime Evans' move cost 2010 runner-up Andy Schleck 1:09 on the BMC rider.
Husic hit the airwaves in Melbourne on Wednesday morning to raise awareness of his latest cause.
"Someone like Cadel, when you think of all those hours that he's put in and the mental hurdles he's gone through, I'm just a big fan of people doing well overseas – particularly in tough sports like that," the Federal Member for Chifley told sports radio station SEN.
Husic went on to explain that whether Australians ride to work on Monday or if a national day of ‘rest' is called in Evans' honour, we should all just take a moment to recognise "the work of an Aussie who's done a lot of hard yards."
It's an idea that does have precedence, which Husic drew on during the interview, with Prime Minister Bob Hawke claiming "Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum," when Australia II became the first successful challenger for the 1983 America's Cup.
"I still remember that morning seeing Australia II cross the line and I don't know that we could ever see someone don one of those Australia jackets the way Hawkey did – I think that's a once in a lifetime event ," Husic said. "I remember that day capturing everyone's attention and everyone being pumped up about that."
While Husic doesn't go as far as Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott who has a penchant for donning the lycra, he admits he's "always loved following the Tour."
"I don't want to get the health minister offside, but I still remember singing those Tooheys [beer] commercials about Phil Anderson when he did well all those years ago."
Those commercials were circa 1985 with Anderson at his peak, riding to 5th in the Tour de France, claiming victory at the then Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, Tour de Suissie, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, along with runner-up placings at the Tour of Flanders and Gent Wevelgem. The jingle went along the lines of:
You'd swear his legs were pistons
As he rides into the distance
He's among the best the world has seen...
One day he'll make world champion, as sure as his name's Phil Anderson
The greatest man who ever rode two wheels
That would be unreal
Can you imagine how it feels,
At the time...
How do you feel?
I feel like a Tooheys, I feel like a Tooheys, I feel like a Tooheys or two
Sunday's final stage of the Tour de France will result in images of this year's victor on the podium being beamed into the homes of Australians on the east coast just after 1:30am on Monday morning. After three weeks of getting to bed around 2am, Cyclingnews is reasonably certain that there will be many Australians ready to take Husic up on his call.
As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.
Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.
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