The Santos Tour Down Under wishes to congratulate the Northern Territory-born Evans on the ultimate win of his career – performing the ride of his life in the individual time trial, to set himself up for a triumphant ride into Paris.
“Evans must be saluted for his gutsy performance and joins an elite club of only 98 cyclists who have won since the race’s inception in 1903,” Santos Tour Down Under, race director, Mike Turtur said.
The former cross country mountain bike rider, 34, who had previously finished second on two occasions at the Tour de France, stole the coveted yellow jersey off of the back of his arch rival Andy Schleck.
An emotional Evans became the third non-European in the history of the race to win the Tour de France and the oldest winner in 88 years.
“This is a historic day for Evans and a monumental day in the history of Australian cycling and sport in general.”
“Evans came into this year’s Tour de France in the best form of his career and he’s been able to avoid illness, crashes and injury which have marred his previous attempts,” Turtur said.
“He also showed his Australian fighting spirit in the Alps and the Pyrenees, surviving attack after attack and overcoming mechanical problems to claw his way to within striking distance of the yellow jersey.”
Although teams for the Santos Tour Down Under have yet to be decided, Turtur said it would be an absolute honour to welcome the Tour de France champion, who last rode in the Santos Tour Down Under in 2010 as the then current world champion, back to Adelaide.
“It would be fantastic to welcome Cadel Evans back to the Santos Tour Down Under as the first Australian Tour de France winner,” he said.
Thirty-five cyclists who competed in this year’s Santos Tour Down Under, including sprint stars Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel, took part in the 3,430.5km, Tour de France.
Turtur also congratulated the five other Australian riders that competed in the Tour de France alongside Evans, Stuart O’Grady, Richie Porte, Simon Gerrans, Matthew Goss and Mark Renshaw.
“Cycling continues to grow and mature in Australia and this contingent of Aussie riders has proved themselves to be great ambassadors for the sport and for their country.”
Cycling fans inspired by the Tour de France are being encouraged to sign up for the Bupa Challenge Tour and ride a stage of the Santos Tour Down Under just hours before the professionals tackle the same route, on Friday, January 20, 2012.
Enter before August 1 to receive early-bird rates for the Bupa Challenge Tour, a 138km ride of the Bupa Stage 4, from the Adelaide suburb of Norwood to Tanunda in the Barossa wine region.
The 2012 Santos Tour Down Under will be held in Adelaide and regional South Australia from 15-22 January 2012. For more information visit www.tourdownunder.com.au