Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crikey, Cadel! A Farewell Career-in-Review

Look, I'll admit I thought of Cadel Evans for some years as rather a wheel-sucker. But then I realized I was a nit, and it must've just been his famous tenacity--because later in the game, he finally did start attacking, often under the worst possible conditions, and when he did, it was beautiful. So in honor of his final WorldTour race, and a certain place of honor in the history books, here's a brief retirement farewell Career In Review:

Cadel the Whippersnapper: far from beginning as a pampered roadie princess, Cadel started out as a mountain biker, which likely explains his bangin' later performance on crap road conditions that make yer average slick-dweller run whimpering to the team bus as fast as his wraithlike legs can carry him. Two time mountain bike world cup champ back in the day, with a couple of top-ten Olympic finishes as bookends, and tests show he's some sort of oxygen-absorbing genetic freak to boot. Really, his nickname was "the Lung"?

2000: Cadel gets some training tutelage from later-controversial Dr. Michele Ferrari. Oh, don't shoot the messenger for Chrissakes, by all accounts it was (1) actually training advice and (2) a one-off!

2001: Cadel joins Saeco and bags the Tour of Austria--nails it again in 2004. His fine road palmares begins!

2002: Cadel starts working with revered Italian roadie god Aldo Sassi. 1st stage at the Tour Down Under, a stage at the Settimana Ciclistica, and a top-15 and a day in the maglia rosa in the glorious Giro--woo-hoo!

2006: Top 10 in the Tour de France, Cadel also smacks both Alejandro Valverde and baby prodigy Alberto Contador in the Tour of Romandie. Not bad considering the !@#$ Valverde was apparently on in that dark Operacion Puerto year!

2007: a time trial win at the Tour de France and 2nd overall to Alberto. Holy crap, this guy is really serious!

2008: Scandalous dopeland Astana--and Contador--are out of the Tour, but it's dear little Sastre who takes the overall as Cadel takes 2nd after one disastrous crack. But 4 days in the maillot jaune ain't nothing to apologize for Cadel! And what's not to love about a guy who threatens to cut the head off anyone who steps on his dog after a particularly crap day on the bike, and sells t-shirts with the slogan on his own website to boot?

2009: A horrible Tour sez he's counted out for good, but a very fine Vuelta and a day in gold sez otherwise. Plus, his place in history is sealed--it's the Worlds, beeyotches!

2010: Maglia rosa, points classification, and a truly epic--truly--win on stage 10 on a miserable mudfest over Alexander Vinokourov. This cements it--I mean literally, he looked like he was covered in cement! Also holds the maillot jaune with a fractured elbow in July, though his overall Tour's a disaster. No race for crybabies--right on Cadel!

2011: Yeah, almost everyone thought he was out, after his nauseating see-saw in the GC the past few years--but he won his Tour de France, Australia's first too and the oldest winner in the modern era. First of many for the Aussies, too, judging by the boys he inspired after him!

2012: Another tough July at the office, with repeat bonks, a struggle with illness or exhaustion--and still a top-10 finish that would be the crown of most riders' careers. We still believe in you Cadel!

2013-2014: Will you cut the guy a little slack? He's a !@#$damn World Champ and Tour de France winner for !@#$'s sake!

2015: Twilight my !@#--the man just pulled off a podium spot in his home race and the last--besides his namesake one--of his career. A fine sendoff to one of the grittiest men ever to stick it through in the peloton--congratulations and thank you Cadel!

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