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Crowning glory for Australian cycling: CA
By Adrian Warren
18:48 AEST Sun Jul 24 2011

Cycling Australia boss Graham Fredericks says Cadel Evans' Tour de France success is the biggest thing to happen to the sport in this country and there's plenty of young talent following.

A elated Fredericks said on Sunday Evans' performance in cycling's biggest race will consolidate Australia's status as a major player in world cycling following several other a growing list of road and track triumphs.

And he was bullish about the future, rating the current crop of road cyclists under the age of 25 as the best Australia has produced.

Evans took control of the Tour with a sensational performance in the penultimate stage time trial in Grenoble early on Sunday AEST and was poised to collect the title on the Champs Elysee early on Monday.

Fredericks rated Evans' effort right up there alongside the nations' greatest sporting triumphs.

"I think the first thing it will do is help us increase our profile and I think the credibility of Australian cycling as a player around the world," Fredericks said.

"It's certainly a tremendous fillip for our sport, it's the biggest thing that has happened in cycling in this country I would say without a doubt.

"I think Cadel's win a few years ago in the world (men's road race) championships and before that Stuart O'Grady winning classics like Paris-Roubaix and the success we've had in Olympics and world championships on the track, it's certainly over the last 10 years established us as a major cycling country around the world.

"If we weren't there, we are now and we are a major player and we are here to tell the Europeans and North Americans that Australia is here to play cycling seriously."

Fredericks said CA was very excited about the next generation of emerging cyclists.

"I don't just mean in the road, in track cycling, BMX, mountain bike, as well we've got some very exciting talent coming though," Fredericks said.

"They are performing very well at junior and those early years into the senior level and I think particularly if you are talking about (future) Cadels on the road, I think our current crop of under 23, under 25 age cyclists is probably the best we've ever had."

Fredericks said Australians would be looking for Evans to put his hand up for more Olympic and world championship representation.

"I think last night proved in a championship-length time trial, the selectors will have to take him into consideration for the Olympic time trial next year, that might be something they will be doing now," Fredericks said.

While Evans remains under contract to his current team BMC, Fredericks didn't rule out him one day joining the fledgling Australian GreenEDGE team which he was confident would get one of the 18 professional tour licences awarded by the international governing body.

Six-time Tour de France contestant Stephen Hodge praised Evans' team and the man himself for his strategy and preparation and a mindset hardened by two previous near misses in the Tour de France.

"I think that's all gone to build a state of mind where he was going to win that yellow jersey last night or die trying to do it," Hodge said.

"He was one angry rider."


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