Tour de France winner: Cadel Evans's often-sullen ride to historic victory
Cadel Evans's victory marks the first time an Australian has won the Tour. Until now, Evans, a runner-up in 2007 and 2008, was known as one of the Tour's prickliest riders.
(Page 3 of 3)
But he struggled in Saturday’s time trial and on Sunday, stood second on the Champs-Élysées podium once again. “We would have wanted a Schleck to be another step higher on the podium, but we’re proud of what we’ve achieved” he said.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
'Clean team' makes statement
A year after drug doping allegations put Contador's 2010 title in question, this year's race was not free for doping charges.
Indeed, in week 1, Russian Alexandr Kolobnev tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic often used to mask other drugs. He withdrew from the race and is expected to be fired by his team, Katusha.
While Contador tested positive for the banned drug clenbuterol during last year's Tour, the the Spanish cycling federation cleared him in February. It accepted his claim that the drug’s presence was a result of eating tainted beef.
But that decision has been appealed by cycling’s governing body, UCI, and Contador now awaits an August hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If the Spanish federation’s decision is overturned, Contador would be stripped of all his titles since — and including — last year’s Tour title.
Contador’s failed drug test, and his subsequent participation in this Tour, signals that there’s much work left to be done in cycling’s fight against doping.
But there are signs that the sport isn’t pedaling backward.
The success of American team Garmin-Cervélo, which has a zero-tolerance antidoping policy for its riders, in this year’s race has sent a positive message to the professional peloton. The self-proclaimed “clean team” had a banner Tour: winning four stages, including the team time trial, and capturing the overall team classification.
"I am confident that clean riders can win big races,” team founder Jonathan Vaughters said after the team’s time trial win on July 3. “We’ve showed [it's possible.]"
Grit and guts
Evans’s victory is being claimed as a win for clean cycling, too.
“It was done with true grit, a great deal of guts and a panache to prove to the world you can win the biggest race in the world while riding clean,” Australia’s Mike Turtur, a vice president for the UCI, told The Australian.
But the champion himself didn’t want to address the issue of doping in a press conference Saturday night, saying only that “the best thing I can do as an athlete is to give a good example.”
He preferred to look toward Sunday and his victory celebration.
Today, in the evening light of Paris, as other riders celebrated the Tour’s conclusion by drinking champagne and taking photos with family, Evans stood atop the podium.
He draped himself in the Australian flag and beamed as, for the first time in Tour history, his country’s national anthem echoed across the Champs-Élysées.
IN PICTURES: Cycling in stages: Tour de France 2011