Monday, July 25, 2011

0019: 1 minute and 34 seconds - Tour de France

That is the final margin of victory for Cadel Evans - this year's champion. 

Photo: Roberto Bettini

It’s a victory that’s been a long time coming. Evans has been trying to win the Tour since 2005, and many people were wondering whether his time had passed. Given his age, this may have been Evans's last realistic chance of winning the Tour. He finished second in the 2007 Tour and was expected to win the next year, but was runner-up again. Last year, he was leading the race but crashed and fractured his left elbow. He was not considered one of the top favorites going into this year's race, but he soon showed his mettle. This time, persistence, planning—and a little good luck—paid off. The 34-year-old Evans is the oldest champion since before World War II. (Read more at Sports Yahoo.)

Tearful Tribute to Aldo Sassi
Reuters: Denis Balibouse

For all the tears of joy shed by Team Evans, there have also been solemn ones for his former coach, Aldo Sassi, who died of brain cancer last December, aged 51.
"He believed in me, often more than I did myself," Evans said. "He said to me last year: 'I'm sure you can win a grand tour and I hope it's the Tour de France. And then you'll be the most complete rider of your generation.'" (Read more at the Guardian.)
Evans could barely speak as he talked of his late coach after winning: "There's been some really good people who have believed in me, from my very first coach when I was 14 years old. I turned on to the road (having started his career in mountain biking) and as everyone is aware it was Aldo Sassi who always believed in me. His situation has certainly pushed me a lot further than I would have otherwise gone this year."
You sense Sassi's illness and death showed Evans the true meaning of suffering and made him what his late coach always believed he could become. The best rider of his generation. (Read more at the Herald Sun.)

Photo: Roberto Bettini
An Australian, he’s only the third non-European to win the Tour since it started in 1903. What a great story and what an inspiration!

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