Sunday, July 24, 2011

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi

While talking to a fellow cycling fan a couple of years ago, I described Cadel Evans as a professional race loser.  He looked like a rider who would post consistently good results without ever winning a Grand Tour.  He had obvious physical talents but it seemed doubtful that he had the mental toughness to reach the highest level.  Then he won the 2009 world championship road race in Mendrisio.  In the decisive moment of that race, Evans changed.  It was the first time I had ever seen him ride with absolute confidence in his own abilities.

Being the world champion doesn’t always work out.  Look at the career of Alessandro Ballan since his victory at Varese in 2008.  Ballan had established a reputation as a great one-day rider, but his results since winning the rainbow jersey have been disappointing.  By contrast, the 2009 world championship has propelled Evans to success in other one-day races, stage wins in Grand Tours, overall victory this year at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie, and finally the maillot jaune in the 2011 Tour de France.  He’s absolutely a different rider now, and a most worthy winner.

Working from home allowed me to watch every live broadcast from this year’s Tour.  And during the last three weeks I’ll bet I watched at least 100 hours of coverage, because I often watched the rebroadcasts and the rest day recaps too.  With no more coverage to enjoy, tomorrow will be a bit of a downer.  I’ll try to beat the post-Tour blues by riding after work.  I have a time trial test on Saturday and I need to prepare.  Maybe the memory of Evans’ great performance in yesterday’s TT will inspire me to achieve more than I have before.

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