Twelve minutes past midnight Australian Eastern time
(I think that is right, I have read conflicting reports, it could be 11:12PM or 1:12AM) an Aussie cyclist rolls down the ramp and potentially into cycling history. Can Cadel Evans become the first antipodean rider to claim the maillot juane? Some things to consider.
– He is 4 seconds behind Frank Schleck, so all things considered, he should have him well and truly covered.
– He is 57 seconds behind Andy Schleck, the current outright leader. Depending on who you talk to, he should be able to beat Andy by more than 57 seconds.
– Alberto Contador is 1:58 behind Evans and pretty much no chance of winning. He might just knock a Schleck off the steps in Paris though.
– Sammy Sanchez at 3:25 behind Evans would have to pull out the ride of his life to get into the top 3.
The rest of them I don’t give a chance. There are 3 podium positions up for grabs, and in my opinion, 4 people trying to grab them.
Before this Tour de France, I wasn’t a great fan of Cadel Evans. My reasons are many and varied. He is a complex man. Certainly not a PR expert, with his out bursts over the previous few years making him a hard man to warm to. He is no media darling, that is for sure. Apparently, away from the spot light he is a dead set legend, giving a lot of time and his gear to help raise money for different charities. For that I have great respect for him.
So, tonight, I will be cheering Cadel Evans. Just like I have been for most of this years Tour de France. Why? Because he is an Aussie doing remarkable things in the worlds most famous cycling race. Because this year he has shown so real grit. Because if he wins, he will have largely done it on his own. He doesn’t have a brother to help him. Or another country man to help him. His team has been great, but they don’t have the fire power of the other teams. They have tried hard, but when the chips have been down, Evans has busted is balls and ridden like he hasn’t ridden before. He has towed a bunch of them up Galibier twice! Panache has been thrown around a lot of late, no more than on this very blog. Whether Evans has panache or not can be argued. But I consider guts as a greater character trait than panache, and Evans has shown more guts than most this year.
So what ever time it is tonight, all Aussies should Yell for Cadel! Bring it home Cuddles, you deserve it.