Cadel Evans has been such a fixture in pro cycling that it’s hard to imagine that he hangs up his wheels on February 1st. But he does. So we thought a little A-to-Z of the man they call Cuddles was in order.
A = Australian. One of the true trailblazers of Australian road cycling, Cadel’s palmares is filled with ‘First Australian to …’, including, of course, First Australian to win the Tour de France in 2011. He has won Australian Cyclist of the Year a record four times (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011).
B = BMC. After a handful of years in various incarnations of the Lotto team, where Cadel felt like he didn’t get the team support he deserved, he moved to BMC in 2010 and has worn the red-and-black ever since.
C = Cuddles. Many Cadel fans hate this nickname as it was given to him during a time when he was, well, prickly with the media. He’s certainly mellowed in the last few years and now it’s used much more affectionately.
D = Dog. Suffice it to say, don’t step on him!
E = Elbow. Coming off a fairly successful Giro campaign in 2010, Cadel seemed ready for a tilt at the Tour de France title. However, on stage nine, while he was in the maillot jaune, he lost over eight minutes to Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador. It was then revealed he had fractured his elbow two days before but insisted on carrying on: “When you’re in yellow in the Tour de France, you’ve got to be there.”
F = Fleche Wallonne. Cadel won the one-day classic in 2010, wearing the rainbow jersey.
G = Grand tours. Cadel has been on the final podium in all three grand tours: Second in the Tour de France, 2007, 2008, winner 2011; third, Giro d’Italia, 2013; third, Vuelta a Espana, 2009. He is also one of a handful of cyclists who have worn the leader’s jersey in each of grand tours.
H = Home race. Although he won the race’s mountain jersey three times (2002, 2003, 2006), he has never won the Tour Down Under. He did reach the final podium in each of the last two years, however: second last year and, of course, third this year.
I = Italian. Cadel speaks fluent Italian.
J = Junior. Cadel was the bronze medallist at the Junior World road time trial championship.
K = Katherine, Northern Territory, Australia. Cadel’s birthplace.
L = Libéré. As in Dauphiné. Cadel was second four times (2007-2009, 2011), third in 2012 and won the points jersey twice (2009, 2012).
M = Mud. One of Cadel’s most memorable wins of his career was the mud stage in the 2010 Giro d’Italia. Battling against both the elements and a small sprint group, he crossed the finish line scraping the mud from his rainbow jersey.
N = Nemesis. Contador vs Schleck is always cited as the great rivalry but I am inclined to believe that Evans vs Schleck(s) was a great rivalry in its own right.
O = Oldest. At 34, Cadel was the oldest rider to win the Tour de France post-1945.
P = Pinerolo-Col du Galibier. The scene of one of the most audacious breakaways and most determined chase. Andy Schleck went long, winning solo on the Galibier. Thomas Voeckler, in yellow, refused to help Cadel chase so he dragged a small pack of riders with him as he minimised his time loss enough to beat Schleck well and truly in the final time trial to take the overall.
Q = Quit (Doesn’t). It would be hard to find a rider as gritty, as determined and as dogged as Cadel. He wasn’t someone who would quit a race because it wasn’t going well. He was in them until the end.
R = Robel. Cadel and his wife Chiara Passerini adopted their son Robel in 2012.
S = Schlecked. TdF 2008: After wearing the yellow jersey from stages 10 to 14, Cadel lost it to Frank Schleck, yet was still very much in the running for the overall. Then the Schleck brothers played cat-and-mouse with Cadel all the way up Alpe d’Huez as their teammate Carlos Sastre rode away with the stage and the Tour de France.
T = Tibet. One of the causes closest to Cadel’s heart is the Free Tibet movement.
U = UCI ProTour champion. That he was in 2007.
V = Valentine. Cadel’s birthday is February 14th.
W = World Champion. In a perfectly timed attack, Cadel took the rainbow jersey in Mendrisio in 2009.
X = XC. Cadel was Australian XC MTB Champion (under-17, 1993; under-19, 1994; and 1996, 1997), and won the Mountain Bike World Cup in 1998 and 1999.
Y = Young rider. Cadel first took the Tour Down Under’s Young Rider jersey in 1999.
Z = Zoncolan. It was a Battle Royale between Cadel and Ivan Basso to the top of the Zoncolan on stage 15 of the 2010 Giro d’Italia. Note the contrasting riding styles. (The action between the two starts at about the 20-minute mark of this video).
Header Image: ©Wei Yuet Wong