One of Cadel Evans' domestiques at the 2011 Tour de France, Marcus Burghardt, was instrumental in the Australian's overall victory. The tall German Classics rider is a powerful rouleur and set the pace for the BMC Racing Team whenever it was needed, protecting the squad's sole leader throughout the three-week race.
Having succeeded in the team's goal to win the Tour de France, Evans gave one of the plush lions that go with the yellow jersey to Burghardt as a present for his baby girl.
This will be one of the 28-year-old's greatest accomplishments as a rider, even though he counts a 2008 Tour de France stage victory, as well as two stage wins in the 2010 Tour de Suisse and the 2007 Gent-Wevelgem title on his palmarès.
"I had great fun to work for Cadel, even though it was painful and hard! In the end, it was worth it, because he took the yellow jersey to Paris - there can't be a better reward," 'Burgie' told Cyclingnews on the Champs Elysées on Sunday.
The German recalled a great race and said he never doubted that Evans would be able to win, even though he took the yellow jersey only on the penultimate day. "We weren't nervous," he said. "We had a plan, we stuck to it and put about 99 percent of it into practice. There wasn't really a reason to get nervous."
The final time trial in Grenoble saw Evans take the overall lead about mid-way through the parcours when intermediate times indicated he was a lot faster than overnight leader Andy Schleck (Leopard).
"We were watching the time trial in the bus, and the moment he was in yellow was just exhilarating. It was also a great relief, an undescribable moment," Burghardt said, before getting ready to party on Sunday night.
"To get to Paris is always very special. The atmosphere here is unique, and you have to savour it. It's also gone so fast again."
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