Stel­lar CADEL EVANS

Cy­clist Q &A “I’d like to think I’ve helped in­flu­ence a new wave of ac­tiv­ity in mid­dle-aged men”

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - News - In­ter­view by AL­LEY PAS­COE The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race takes place on Jan­uary 27–29, 2017; cadel­e­vans­greato­cean­road­race.com.au.

What’s harder: win­ning the Tour de France or dodging a mag­pie at­tack when you’re rid­ing in Aus­tralia? [Laughs] Win­ning the Tour de France is more stress­ful and harder. Dodging a mag­pie at­tack is more frus­trat­ing. I read that your nick­name is Cud­dles. Please ex­plain…

That is some­thing cre­ated by an English jour­nal­ist, I think. I changed and cor­rected it on Wikipedia over and over again. I don’t know why a jour­nal­ist would be so mo­ti­vated to try to make that a fact, but I sup­pose if it’s writ­ten

on Wikipedia, it is fact, right? I do not have a nick­name, let’s be clear on that. Got it. Apart from Cud­dles, you’ve also been called one of our great­est sports­men, one of the big­gest tal­ents cy­cling has ever seen and an Aussie le­gend. How would you de­scribe your­self? Oh, I don’t know about those judge­ments, they’re for other peo­ple to make. I would like to think that I was some­one who had a cer­tain amount of tal­ent and a cer­tain amount of op­por­tu­nity, and I made the most of that. I worked as hard as I could, and as clev­erly as I could, to go as far as I could in my cho­sen en­deav­ours. Last year’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was your last pro­fes­sional race. How did you feel when you crossed the fin­ish line? A lit­tle bit re­lieved, but sat­is­fied with a pro­fes­sion and ca­reer I had given my best to. It had its losses, but it had its vic­to­ries as well. I’m proud of the fact I was a ver­sa­tile rider who could per­form in dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines of the sport. What’s been the hard­est part of re­tire­ment? Noth­ing! Ev­ery­thing is less stress­ful. There’s less pres­sure and more en­ergy and time to do ev­ery­thing else ev­ery day, so things be­come more en­joy­able. How does your son Ro­bel feel about cy­cling?

My son is only six and he’s happy to go for lit­tle rides with me in the for­est or have me by his side to give him ad­vice on rid­ing his bike, or any­thing for that mat­ter. He lit­er­ally

gets a push up the hill when he needs one with my hand on his back, but that’s it. I never pres­sured him into rid­ing; he loves it of his own ac­cord. Ob­vi­ously he knows you like rid­ing – does he have any idea that you’re a world cham­pion cy­clist? I don’t know if he quite un­der­stands that… He usu­ally tells me I’m hope­less. Do you em­brace or shy away from the MAMIL (Mid­dle Aged Man In Ly­cra) ti­tle? [Laughs] I sup­pose, tech­ni­cally, now that I don’t race, I prob­a­bly am one. I’d like to think I’ve helped in­flu­ence a new wave of ac­tiv­ity in mid­dle-aged men. I hope that’s go­ing to help their long-term health and well­be­ing. What do you say to drivers who think cy­clists don’t be­long on the road? I don’t think we should sep­a­rate the two, be­cause most peo­ple who ride a bike also have a car. In the end, they’re pub­lic roads for ev­ery­one. It’s a priv­i­lege

to use roads; not a right. We have to re­spect ev­ery­one who’s us­ing them, whether they’re driv­ing a car, bus, trac­tor or truck, or rid­ing a bike or are a pedes­trian. We have to re­spect each other’s priv­i­lege and safety. You split your time be­tween Aus­tralia and Switzer­land. Who has the fresh­est air? Good ques­tion – the air is dif­fer­ent. I’d say Switzer­land’s is just a lit­tle bit cleaner. They have a lot more hy­dro elec­tric­ity and mod­ern cars. But in Aus­tralia you can get out in the open space. You don’t have to travel far from the city to get to a place where you’re on your own. It’s some­thing I re­alise ev­ery time I come back. I ap­pre­ci­ate the iso­la­tion you can have in Aus­tralia. You fin­ished in sec­ond place twice [2007, 2008] be­fore you won the Tour de France in 2011. Do you be­lieve in luck? In a race that’s three weeks long, some things go your way, some things don’t. You have to be able to over­come the things that don’t, or min­imise them at least, and then have a bit of re­serve to over­come what you can’t min­imise. I was a bit un­lucky in 2008, but things came around and went my way in 2011. The lessons that I learnt through the losses pre­pared me to make the most of the op­por­tu­ni­ties in 2011. You re­tired in 2015, but you still par­tic­i­pate in the pub­lic ride at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Do some peo­ple ride just so they can say they beat Cadel Evans? Prob­a­bly. I’d be [more] de­lighted if peo­ple came along to sup­port the rid­ers. My mother usu­ally rides it, so it’s for ev­ery­one. We also have a kids’ race on Fri­day, af­ter school. We try to cater for ev­ery­one, from two-year-olds with train­ing wheels to the best elite male and fe­male rid­ers in the world. How have you changed as a per­son since hang­ing up your Ly­cra? I just have more time, en­ergy, pa­tience and tol­er­ance. There’s a lot of pres­sure, stress and ex­pec­ta­tions in per­form­ing at the high­est level of pro­fes­sional cy­cling. With­out that, your pa­tience and tol­er­ance isn’t be­ing con­sumed, so you have an abun­dance of it to ap­ply to other as­pects of life. Were you afraid of pack­ing on the weight when you stopped com­pet­ing? [Laughs] I haven’t yet. It’s nice to have a stronger up­per body. But for the most part, I still ride a lot – I en­joy stay­ing fit and healthy.

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