Cadel Evans: Highs and lows of a 20-year career

We take a look back at the events that have shaped Cadel Evans' career, as the Australian announces his retirement

Australian Cadel Evans has announced his retirement from professional cycling, stating that his last race will be the Great Ocean Race in Melbourne Australia on February 1 2015.

The 37-year-old will close a career that has seen him become the only cyclist to ever win the mountain bike World Cup, Tour de France and road race world title. With increasing specialisation in the sport, perhaps he will remain the only person to ever achieve this feat.

Here we take a look back at Evans’s long and varied career…

Cadel Evans at the 1996 Olympic Games

Cadel Evans in the cross-country mountain bike event at the 1996 Olympic Games

Mountain bike

Evans began his cycling career as a mountain biker. He earned a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport and underwent its MTB programme winning medals as a junior and under-23 competitor in the early 1990s. The multiple XC national champion finished first overall at the 1998 and the 1999 World Cup prior to turning his full attention to road racing and joining Saeco in 2001.

GIRO D'ITALIA - STAGE TWOPulling on the coveted maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia

Pink stints

Evans likes the Giro d’Italia and its comparatively relaxed atmosphere. He wore the famed maglia rosa for the first time as a 25-year-old at the 2002 edition in what was his Grand Tour debut.

He did not return until 2010 where he again celebrated a time in pink, won a stage, finished fifth overall and claimed the points classification. His gutsy stage seven victory over a hilly finale in Montalcino was particularly memorable with spring rain having turned stretches of strade bianche to mud.

The Giro has appeared on Evans’s programme more towards the senior end of his career. He competed in 2013 as the warhorse, who finished third overall and in the points classification. He started this year at the request of BMC team management that confirmed a changing of the guard sending Tejay van Garderen as a protected rider to the Tour de France. Evans adjusted to the change and spent four days in the pink jersey prior to finishing eighth overall.

Cadel Evans wins the 2009 World Championships road race

Cadel Evans wins the 2009 World Championships road race

World Champion

‘First Australian to’ precedes a lot of Evans’s highest achievements and the 2009 UCI Road World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland was no exception. He won gold in the elite men’s road race with a stunning solo attack and the help of a dedicated national team in what preceded the beginning of a new chapter with BMC. His victory in Switzerland came off the back of a third place at the Vuelta a Espana in which he celebrated a stint in the leader’s jersey and in doing so joined an elite group to have worn all three Grand Tour leaders jerseys.

Cadel Evans wins Fleche Wallonne in 2011

Cadel Evans takes the victory at Fleche Wallonne in 2011

The Ardennes

Evans mocked the supposed curse of the rainbow jersey when he became the first Australian to win Fleche Wallonne in 2010. He credited inspiration drawn from the rainbow bands plus extensive course recon with BMC sports director John Lelangue for his aptly-timed victory over Joaquim Rodriguez and Alberto Contador. Evans darted ahead of Contador within the final 100m of the Mur de Huy to claim victory. He became the fifth rider to win Fleche Wallonne in the rainbow jersey joining Ferdi Kubler (1952), Rik Van Steenbergen (1958), Eddy Merckx (1972) and Claude Criquielion (1985).

Cadel Evans on stage 14 of the 2011 Tour de France

A typically gritty performance in the mountains for Evans on stage 14 of the 2011 Tour de France

The big, bad Tour de France

To simply say Evans won the Tour de France in 2011 is to undermine the years of trials and tribulations behind that one rich career-defining success. His performance throughout the 2011 Tour, in which he won a stage and claimed the maillot jaune on the penultimate day, put to rest contentious issues over race leadership and support, especially in the mountains, that had punctuated prior attempts.

Evans was BMC’s undisputed Tour leader and could rely on an experienced squad that included the likes of super domestique George Hincapie and the support of Lelangue amongst others. Some 25,000 people packed Melbourne’s Federation Square to welcome the decorated athlete back to his homeland after the historic victory.

The win was a vindication for Evans, whose decision to join a then Pro Continental team BMC at the end of 2009 raised eyebrows. More than that, it demonstrated persistence pays. Within Evans’s nine career appearances at the race he finished in the top 10 seven times and was consecutive runner-up in 2007 and 2008. He placed seventh overall in his last Tour participation in 2013, which was hampered by illness.

Cadel Evans wins the 2011 Tour de France

Celebrating the 2011 Tour de France win with BMC Racing team-mates

Cadel Evans: Major victories

Tour Down Under; stage three
Giro del Trentino; stage three
Giro del Trentino; overall
Tour of Utah; stage six
Tour of Utah; stage seven

Tour of Alberta; stage four

Criterium International; stage two ITT
Criterium International; overall
Criterium International; points classification
Criterium du Dauphine; stage one
Criterium du Dauphine; points classification

Tirreno-Adriatico; stage six
Tirreno-Adriatico; overall classification
Tour de Romandie; overall classification
Tour de France; stage four
Tour de France; overall

La Fleche Wallonne
Giro d’Italia; stage seven

Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré; prologue
Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré; points classification
Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali; stage five
World road race Championships

Paris-Nice; stage four
Settimana internazionale di Coppi e Bartali; stage three
Vuelta a Andalucia; stage two

UCI ProTour; overall winner
TT test event, Beijing

Tour de Romandie; overall
Tour de Romandie; stage five

Tour of Austria; overall
Tour of Austria; stage two

Settimana Ciclista Internazionale; stage one
Tour Down Under; stage five
International UNIQA Classic
Commonwealth champion, TT

Tour of Austria; overall

Mountain bike World Cup; overall

Mountain bike World Cup; overall

Cadel Evans on stage nine of the 2014 Giro d'Italia

Cadel Evans on stage nine of the 2014 Giro d’Italia

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