Cadel Evans still blown away by ‘unique honour’ after 10 years of famous Aussie race in his name

Even after 10 years of the event, Australian cycling legend Cadel Evans has to pinch himself that he has a race named after him.

This weekend will see the eighth running of the Cadel Evans Road Race over a 10-year period (with some years having been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Evans reached the summit of cycling during his decorated career, famously winning the Tour de France in 2011, while also winning the points classification of the Giro d’Italia in 2010, finishing fifth overall in the race with a stage win to his name.

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But there is nothing that gives him more satisfaction in retirement than being the face of one of Australia’s most prestigious races in his own backyard.

The elite men and women will start and finish in Geelong, passing through Evans’ home town of Barwon Heads, as far down as Bells Beach, then back up to Geelong via Moriac.

The jam-packed week of cycling also includes a number of other races, including the TAC People’s Ride, which Evans himself will wind back the clock to take part in, as part of his enormous involvement in the event.

Cadel Evans is “everywhere” during the week. Credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Speaking to about the busy role where he is seen throughout the week, Evans said: “Everywhere, I feel like I’m everywhere.

“I compete in the TAC People’s Ride, which is always a little bit of relief, actually — a couple of hours on the bike to give me a bit of a relief from everything else.

“But no, I’m around everywhere; a little bit with riders, a little bit with team staff, but mostly with partners of the race and, of course, with the public as well. Also between TV commentary, race presentations and being available everywhere to all requests.

“It’s a busy week for me but I’m really looking forward to it — of course it’s my busiest week of the year but also my most enjoyable.”

The 46-year-old said it still felt surreal to have his face plastered all over the course, even after everything he had achieved globally.

“To have my face and name up on the banners and all on the road, it’s all still something I’m getting used to actually after 10 years,” Evans said.

“But to be to continue to be so heavily involved in my sport which of course for me, in the past, was my life — it still is my life — but it really was my livelihood for my entire adult life; to be to be back in that realm, it’s something very, very special, and something I’m proud of but also very honored to have the privilege to have.

“I often have to pinch myself. It’s the only race in the world tour named after a rider, and one of few races in the world that’s named after a rider.

“There have been some pretty amazing riders in the history of the sport, of course, so for that reason, it’s quite unique and something really special.

“Not just on a sporting level, not just having my name on the banners, but it’s my region. It’s the roads I trained on to win the Tour de France and World Championships years ago, and to have the riders come back and train and race on those roads, it’s something that fits in on on so many levels.

“My children do the GeelongPort Family Ride as well; it’s still on training wheels, but they participate in that as well.”

Evans himself will take part in the TAC People’s Race on Saturday. Credit: Morgan Hancock/Getty Images for Cadel Evans Gre

The elite women’s race this years boasts the largest peloton in the race’s history, and Evans expects Australian rider Sarah Gigante to be amongst the contenders after taking out the Tour Down Under last week, while Dutch teenager Nienke Vinke has also impressed him.

On the men’s side, Aussie star Caleb Ewan has “his best opportunity ever” to claim a win in the race, according to Evans.

The women’s mid-week race (Geelong Classic) took place on Wednesday, followed by the men’s mid-week (Surf Coast Classic) on Thursday.

Friday sees the GeelongPort Family Ride before the 113km TAC People’s Ride on Saturday.

The women will also hit the course on Saturday for the Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race, leaving Sunday for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Elite Men’s Race.

Watch all the action live and free on Seven and 7plus. Coverage gets underway from 12pm AEDT on Saturday for the Elite Women’s Road Race and 10:30am AEDT on Sunday for the Elite Men’s Road Race.

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