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Tour de France winner Cadel Evans "couldn't be happier"

posted 24 Jul 2011, 13:15 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 24 Jul 2011, 13:19 ]
Cadel Evans says he "couldn't be happier" making history as the first Australian Tour de France winner.

PARIS, FRANCE (JULY 24, 2011) REUTERS -   When a 14-year-old Cadel Evans declared in 1991 that his ambition was to win the Tour de France, a lot of people around him thought it would turn out to be just another pipe dream.

On Sunday (July 24), Evans proved that age was no barrier to fulfilling that goal as he became the first Australian to win the Tour and its oldest winner since 1923.

Evans barely attacked during the three-week competition but his resilience, combined with Alberto Contador's failure and the Schleck brothers' errors, allowed him to become the first Australian to win the most famous cycling race.

"I think it's been a beautiful race, and thanks to these two brothers here we really... I think it was a fantastic experience here for everyone involved, I couldn't be happier than standing up right here in the middle of you," Evans said as he was handed the famous yellow jersey.

The BMC rider is, at 34 years and five months, the oldest cyclist to win the Tour since 1923 and is highly unlikely to start a long-term reign.

Knowing it was one of his last chances to win the Tour after two runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2008, the 2009 world champion left nothing to chance.

The Schlecks, the first brothers to finish together on a Tour de France podium, also criticised the organisers by claiming some of the descents were too dangerous.

In one of them, Andy Schleck, who finished second overall behind Evans, lost over a minute to the Australian after taking no risks in the descent to La Rochette following a Contador attack.

Luxembourg's Schleck, however, launched a long-range attack in the most gruelling Alpine stage to the Col du Galibier, powering away from the pack 60 kilometres from the finish and defying strong headwind to spring into contention.