Evans: Contador is "innocent until proven guilty"

Cadel Evans waves

Cadel Evans waves (Image credit: AFP)

While on holiday in Venice, Italy, 2007 Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans took time out to conduct an interview on the Australian talk show, Enough Rope. Evans was interviewed on Monday, August 6, 2007, via satellite by the show's host, Andrew Denton, while the cyclist's mother and grandmother were present in the Sydney ABC-TV studio. Indeed, even at the end, Evans' wife Chiara made a cameo by being invited into the shot.

Denton's method is to use his humour and knowledge to have his subjects relax and open up on camera. Denton started the interview by asking the cyclist's mother and grandmother about Evans as a young boy, while screening shots of a diminutive cyclist pulling 'wheelies' on a tiny BMX bike. Across the globe, Evans sat in a Venice TV studio and while looking relaxed, he still offered measured answers to some probing questions, asked with an almost-innocence by the interviewer. After discussing Evans' childhood and life growing up on a remote Northern Territory settlement, Denton moved into the hot topic following this year's Tour: losing by 23 seconds and doping.

He was specifically asked if he believed that Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) deserved this year's Tour de France victory, especially in light of comments made by German anti-doping activist, Werner Franke, that the Spaniard's victory was "the greatest swindle" in sports history.

Evans said: "I think, like everyone, there is a bit of a shadow over his winning and his reputation. For me, innocent until proven guilty is always my attitude.

"Just because you win the Tour de France doesn't mean you are a cheat. People have to remember that. If something comes out... solid evidence, yes... but 'til now, no solid proof has come out. So I'll leave him innocent until proven guilty," he said.

Evans also admitted to Denton that the issue of doping in cycling had made him consider quitting the sport, "but that would be giving up. I don't want to do that.

"I think [cheating is] human nature. It's not just the Tour de France. It's not just sport. It's the world as a whole. People will always look for an easier way, or ways to gain more or profit more from a situation. I can't change the world as a whole, but I can do my best and what I believe is right and I [will] continue doing that."

Evans had certainly counted the seconds lost and is now counting the days until next year's Tour. He said "every day of my life" leading up to next year's Tour will be focused on that goal.

The cyclist also thanked his family and wife, Chiara, who is a classical pianist. He said listening to his wife practice at home was one of the joys of his life, and he enjoyed attending her concerts and recitals, as it gave him a break from the cycling scene.

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