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 Cadel Evans seals a historic first Tour de France victory by an Australian!

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Cadel Evans seals a historic first Tour de France victory by an Australian!  Empty
PostSubject: Cadel Evans seals a historic first Tour de France victory by an Australian!    Cadel Evans seals a historic first Tour de France victory by an Australian!  EmptySun Jul 24, 2011 10:44 pm


Speaking immediately following the final stage, Evans summed it all up in one word.

"Wow," was all the Aussie could get out before reflecting on his great achievement.

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"A few people always believed in me. I believed in me. And those few people, my team and a few people around me and myself are what mattered most.

"Here we are today. We did it."

Asked what impact his victory would have on both his career and the sport in his homeland, Evans told of the toll the three-week race had taken.

"I haven't had time to consider it in that aspect to be honest," he said.

"I'll have to reflect on it a bit.

"It's been such a focused process every day.

"Not just day by day this month – month by month, year by year, it's been a long, long, long process.

"It will probably be a long realisation of what exactly has happened but it's been an amazing and just a real pleasure this whole three weeks just about every aspect of it. "

Britain's Mark Cavendish, of HTC-Highroad, took his third consecutive stage win on the Champs Elysees where Evans, who rides for BMC, maintained his lead of 1min 34sec over Andy Schleck of Luxembourg who rides for Leopard.

In third place was Frank Schleck, 31, who finished 2:30 behind.

Cavendish has now won five stages in 2011, taking his tally to 20. His third consecutive stage victory on the final stage of the race means he becomes the first Briton to secure the green jersey for the race's points competition.

Isle of Man rider Cavendish will therefore be the first Briton to step on to the podium since 1984 when Scotland's Robert Millar took the King of the Mountains jersey on his way to a fourth place finish.

Spaniard Samuel Sanchez, of the Euskaltel team, won the polka dot jersey while Frenchman Pierre Rolland, of Europcar, won the white jersey for the best-placed rider aged 25 and under.

Evans had already been Australia's most successful rider on the world's premier cycling event thanks to two runner-up places in 2007 and 2008.

Two years after becoming Australia's first ever world road race champion, Evans made history in convincing fashion a day after dispossessing Schleck of the yellow jersey after the 20th and penultimate stage time trial.

Schleck held a 57sec lead on Evans following the final mountain stage to Alpe d'Huez, won by Rolland and was confident of taking the yellow jersey all the way to Paris.

However the Luxemburger, known as a climbing specialist, fell victim to his comparatively inferior time-trialling skills on the challenging 42.5 km course around Grenoble.

Evans slashed his deficit to just 36sec by the 15 km mark of the individual race against the clock, and by the halfway point he had become virtual leader.

In the end the Australian beat Schleck by 2:30, dropping the Luxemburger to second by 1:34.

Schleck, who had won the white jersey from 2008-2010, has now come runner-up for the third consecutive year having finished second to Alberto Contador in 2009 and 2010.

Contador, the three-time reigning champion, endured a disappointing race before finishing fifth overall at 3:57 adrift of Evans and one place behind France's Thomas Voeckler, fourth at 3:20.
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