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I have a special guest on the pod this week, making his debut appearance on Life in the Peloton. He´s no stranger to you all though, he is a fellow Victorian, a former mountain biker, road world champion, and Australia´s only ever Tour de France winner, I´m talking of course about the legend himself, Cadel Evans.
This was a great opportunity to really get back to the beginning of the Cadel Evans story and hear it in his own words. I was keen to hear all about his infamous upbringing in a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory of Australia, and how he made his start as a mountain biker when his family moved back to Victoria when Cadel was primary school age. We chatted through his evolution from junior mountain biker to European-level mountain biker, before moving to road cycling in Europe, and eventually, as the history books show, going on to become a world champion, and the first-ever Australian to win the Tour de France, in 2011.
Along the way, he forged some incredible partnerships and made some powerful allies, with team directors, teammates, coaches and sponsors, many of whom are still loyal to Cadel and his brand today, showing the amount of mutual respect and trust that he built up within his inner circle throughout his career. Always something of an outlier among the professional cycling ranks, we chat about the ways in which he was a visionary rider and ahead of his time, and how so many of these habits that he had are now somewhat ingrained in the pro peloton (chamomile tea after dinner, and solo training rides, to name a couple.)
It was fascinating to hear Cadel´s take on the crossover between road cycling and mountain biking, and the ways in which MTB prepared him to become one of the best cyclists of his generation. I loved getting the chance to chat in depth with him about his relationship with the visionary Italian coach Aldo Sassi, which was instrumental in shaping him into the forward-thinking cyclist that he became.
One of the golden eras of modern cycling, it was great to hear in-depth about his time on the iconic teams Mapei, T-Mobile, Lotto, and BMC – where he started his campaign towards becoming an eventual Tour de France winner, and the years of missed opportunities and bad luck that ensued along his road to winning. And to take a deep dive into his World Championship win in Mendrisio in 2009, with all the drama and team politics that came along with that win.
Something of an enigma in the world of cycling, I loved this chance to hear the Cadel Evans story from the man himself and to clear up a few myths and legends that have circulated around him throughout his career (for example, was he really the highest ever tested V02 max at the AIS?)
It´s a story we are all familiar with, but I hope you enjoy learning a bit more about the Cadel Evans story - I really loved chatting with him and hearing his story in his own words.
We’re back this week with the Race Communiqué; getting the inside track on what is happening in the pro peloton with myself and my good mates Luke Durbridge and Tom Southam.
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