The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
Friday 29 January 2016
- Kids Cycling Clinic – Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm
- GMHBA Family Ride – Time: 5:00pm – 6:00pm
- Teams Presentation – Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Saturday 30 January 2016
- Momentum Energy People’s Ride – Time: 7:00am
- Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – Elite Women’s Race – Time: 11:40am – 2:50pm*
Sunday 31 January 2016
- Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – Elite Men’s Race – Time: 11:10am – 3:30pm
To sign up for the People’s Ride, visit the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race website.
In late January it will be one year since Cadel Evans said farewell to competitive cycling. By all accounts, the 2011 Tour de France champion has settled into retirement nicely, serving as the public face of the BMC bike company and various public health and cycling safety campaigns. He even made a surprise appearance at this year’s ARIAs.
For the next few months, at the top of his agenda will be the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, which returns to the Bellarine Peninsula in 2016. In February of this year, Cadel made the inaugural Elite Men’s Race his last, riding through Geelong, Barwon Heads, and Torquay in front of about 75,000 spectators.
This time around he’ll take part in the People’s Ride. Scheduled for Saturday, January 30, it follows the same route as the Elite Men’s and Women’s races and will give amateur riders the chance to pedal alongside their hero. Cadel’s aim for the 111 and 65 kilometre rides is simple: to encourage you to get on your bike.
“It’s a reason for people to get out and ride a few times a week in the lead up,” Cadel, 38, says. “If people are sitting together over Christmas, maybe they’ll think about doing it. It’s something to work towards.”
The Barwon Heads resident was in Melbourne this week to unveil the line up for the Elite Men’s Race, which includes top teams such as BMC Racing (US), Team Sky (UK) and Australia’s ORICA-GreenEDGE. Leading Australian cyclists Rohan Dennis and Simon Gerrans are locked for the January 31 main event, which the UCI recently classified at 1.HC, one level below the World Tour.
The four-time Olympian says he hopes the improved race classification is a sign of things to come. “If we can get on the World Tour that would be fantastic,” he says. “Most of all I’d like it if the race gains momentum and credibility to become part of the national sporting calendar.”
At the race launch, Cadel was joined by junior riders from the Brunswick Cycling Club. He’s proud his success has encouraged many Australians to take up the sport.
“It doesn’t feel like so long ago that I was 14 years old and watching [five-time winner] Miguel Indurain in the Tour De France on SBS,” he says. “And that inspired me to want to ride the Tour de France one day. As an athlete you have the privilege of setting an example for people. That’s something I treasure.”
Cadel still rides regularly, but the best thing about being retired is “having time and energy to do all the things that you previously had to say ‘no’ to”. He cites as an example his recent appearance at the ARIAs, where he presented Tina Arena with a Hall of Fame award. Was he nervous on the night?
“No, I was completely calm about it,” he says, “but no one told me I had to talk. So that put me on the spot.”
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) November 27, 2015
Cadel says he was hidden from view and brought into the room at the last minute so no one would tip off Tina. “The last time we saw each other was on the podium at the Champs-Élysées in Paris in 2011,” he says. “So it was a genuine shock and surprise [for Tina]. I think was one of the few moments you see on TV that’s not scripted or acted out.”
He adds: “As a rider, sometimes you don’t realise how much your results resonate. To be handed the microphone by Kylie Minogue … I didn’t realise my sport went that far.”
When’s he’s at home in Barwon Heads, Cadel still enjoys riding on the same roads he once trained on. In Melbourne he loves pedalling along Yarra Boulevard, and has a soft spot for Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs, where he trained as a junior.
“I started cycling when I moved to Melbourne in 1989 and I started on Yan Yean Road in Plenty,” he says. “Riding around Kinglake, St Andrews – those are still among my favourite places to ride in the world because of all the memories.”
However, he tends to avoid Beach Road. Is that because he’d be mobbed by its many keen cyclists? “A little bit,” he says, laughing. “And there’s too much traffic.”
When Cadel spoke to The Weekly Review’s Peter Wilmoth in November 2014, a few months before his final race, he said winning the Tour de France had completely changed his life. “Now I’m introduced in that way, Cadel Evans, winner of the Tour de France,” he told Peter.
Asked how he felt about that introduction these days, Cadel said: “I’m proud of it. I had a period of my life that I dedicated to trying to do well at the Tour De France. If I look at the time and energy spent on it, it’s who I am.”