Rainbow warrior

Monday, 4 October 2010

It’s been an incredible year for Cadel Evans. His success a year ago in Mendrisio, Switzerland was a home win with his European home is minutes away from the circuit. Coincidently his Australian home is also minutes from the circuit in Geelong.

The world title in 2009 transformed him, something that’s been pointed out by many already but it’s worth dwelling on. He finally landed the big one that that had been eluding him, the nearly man of pro cycling became identifiable with a big win, especially since the victory in Mendrisio was so emphatic. From that moment onwards he’d go on training rides dressed in the rainbow bands, a visible sign of his pride. It also seems to have changed his way of dealing with others, a sensitive and private sort, he seemed to be under less stress to deliver and team mates reciprocally respected him. The title also gave BMC the incentive to buy him out of his contract with the Belgian Lotto team.

2010 turned into a beautiful season for Evans. The so-called curse of the rainbow jersey was broken. He started with a bang in the Tour Down Under when he made the decisive break with Valverde, LL Sanchez and Sagan. This early glimpse was confirmed with a podium finish in Tirreno-Adriatico. Then he shone in the classics, winning the Flèche Wallonne. On to the Giro d’Italia and he was one of the race’s protagonists, including the outstanding win on the stage to Montalcino,one of the highlights of the season, where he could be seen wiping the mud off his jersey for the cameras at the finish line. He held the pink jersey too and won the points competition. Then the Tour de France and the yellow jersey for a day. All this before a powerful defence of the title in Geelong. Indeed if the jersey has gone, he might still enjoy the Tour of Lombardy.

Thor Hushovd has a lot to live up to now but I suspect he’s capable. He’s a likeable rider – I’ve met him quite a few times – and is present all season long too. The only concern has to be how he is managed within the new Garmin-Cervélo squad but this is merely a luxurious dilemma.

Champs October 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Evans has almost certainly had the added benefit of riding with a team that will support him, be it BMC or Australia, rather than Lotto. He sure wasn't the bridesmaid of the Tour because he had guys like Voigt and Cancellara controlling the race.

Damien October 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Totally agree – Evans has a had a fantastic season. The defence of his title was spirited and gutsy, despite everyone pretty much writing off his chances citing a course that didn't suit his abilities.

One of the significant things that's happened is that his 'wheelsucker' tag has well and truly been forgotten. During the BBC's coverage of the race yesterday the commentators were even using phrases such as 'And here's Evans with his familiar attacking style…' – quite a turnaround!

Anonymous October 4, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Yes, with you that Evans has done the jersey proud. I hope Hushovd doesn't get cursed but he should be ok. Even if he doesn't win often he usually does it in quality.

david lewis October 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm

In thinking … I'd rather have a rainbow jersey winner that fights (and on occasion, wins) and wears it like he deserves to – thanks Cadel, you did that.

When I saw that Thor won, I thought, hmm, good. Another guy I like in the peleton who, no doubt, will wear it proudly and fight. How argyle and stripes will work, I don't know.

One guy I would have liked to see win – due to the charisma and "good guy" factor. Jens Voigt.

It's nice to not talk about that "other" cycling issue currently in the news.

cyclingslopes October 4, 2010 at 5:52 pm

great post and who heartly agree . it was also nice to see a rider even when hurt carried on because he was the world champ and didnt just get off his bike and go ah well …. and again cadel has shown the up and coming youths spirit determination amd true grit prevails

this is the sort of pro i want to see in the peleton.

Reuben October 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I liked Evans before and I liked him even more after this year. Great riding. Must say that if he had the condition he would have been one for the win for me at this years WC. However I don't think he did enough racing to build form beforehand.

However, looking forward to Thor's season as WC. The classics and challenging for a/several jersey/s is going to be good.

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