Some thought that at 34 years of age, the yellow-clad cyclist was too old to dream of becoming our first world champion but as he stormed home to become the first ever Australian Tour de France winner, an elated nation was behind him. Cadel is the oldest champion to have won the race since 1923 and the only non-European to have won since 1903. With those statistics, he has certainly done his country proud. But what do we know about Cadel, the man? YOURLifeChoices newest team member Sarah Broomhall digs deeper to find out more about one of our most publicity-shy athletes.
Cadel Lee Evans was born on 14 February 1977 in the heat of summer in Katherine, Northern Territory, to Helen Cocks, a bank manager, and Paul Evans, a council foreman. Cadel’s great-grandfather was Welsh and it is said that ‘Cadel’ was the name of three Welsh kings. Evans went on to complete his schooling at Eltham High School in south eastern Melbourne.
Now nicknamed ‘Cuddles’ (presumed to be a play on his first name), the streamlined Evans is a tiny 65kg, making him ‘physically unsuitable’ (in his words) for most Australian sports due to his lack of speed and size. For teenage Cadel, bike riding appeared to be the perfect option and he competed as a mountain bike rider between the ages of 17 and 22. To improve his mountain biking, his then coach, Damian Grundy, suggested he compete in road races.
Evans turned to road cycling in 2001 after realising that he had potential and he soon came to love riding the road. Evans and his wife Chiara Passerini, married in 2002, couldn’t be more different. His wife is an Italian pianist and music teacher and although they have few common interests, Cadel says that they both support each other’s careers and he loves listening to her music, as well as songs by U2, Crowded House and Paul Kelly. In his downtime, Cadel loves reading and admits he has always been a fan of the French Tintin books; Tintin being the only cyclist to merit a picture on his bedroom wall.
Cadel looks forward to an increase in lycra on our roads, hoping that he has inspired the hearts of young Australians to follow their dreams.