Cadel Lee Evans is arguably Australia’s most famous, former professional racing cyclist. Evans won the prestigious Tour de France in 2011, making him one of only two non-Europeans to have won the Tour de France, the other being Greg LeMond.
Evans was born at the Katherine Hospital, Katherine, in Australia’s Northern Territory on 14 February 1977. He lived his early childhood in the small Aboriginal community of Barunga, 80 km east of Katherin. When his parents separated in 1986. Evans then moved with his mother to Armidale, New South Wales, before they moved again to Eltham, in Melbourne, Victoria. As a teenager, Evans was an avid skateboard-enthusiast.
As a young adult, Evans was a champion mountain biker. He won numerous titles, including the World Cup in 1998 and 1999 and placing seventh in the men’s cross-country mountain bike race at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Evans is a four time Olympian.
Evans began full-time road cycling in 2001. Over the next few years, he progressed through the ranks. In 2007 and 2008, he placed second in the Tour de France. He became the first Australian to win the UCI ProTour (2007) and the UCI Road World Championships in 2009. Finally, at age 34, he won the Tour de France in 2011, riding for BMC Racing Team. He was one of the oldest winners in the race’s history.
Early in his career, Evans earned the nickname ‘The Lung’. While at the Australian Institute of Sport, he underwent physiological tests highlighted that he possessed a rare combination –unusually high lung volume and the capacity to absorb more oxygen from each breath than 99.9 per cent of the population.