Evans began his international career in 1995 when he was awarded a Scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport Mountain Bike Program. He trained rigorously under A.I.S. Cycling Program’s MTB coach Damien Grundy and Road Coach Heiko Salzwedel.
A successful mountain bike riding career came from his time at the AIS. Evans won bronze medals at the 1995 Junior world mountain bike championship and Junior world road time trial championship, and silver medals at the 1997 and 1999 under-23 world championships. He won the cross-country event in the Mountain Bike World Cup in both 1998 and 1999.
In 2000, Evans worked with Michele Ferrari under the management of Tony Rominger; however, he maintains that his work with Dr. Ferrari was only “for a training test”, and there were no working relationships with the disgraced Dr. Ferrari beyond that, after which Evans switched to road cycling full-time.
Switched to Road Cycling Full-Time
Throughout his road cycling career, Evans rode for Saeco, Mapei and Team Telekom. As part of team Mapei, he was coached by Aldo Sassi, who helped him make the transition from mountain biker to grand tourer. After winning the Tour in 2011, Evans dedicated the victory to the late coach.
Evans’ career highlights include overall wins in the 2001 and 2004 editions of the Tour of Austria, 14th in the 2002 Giro d’Italia, Commonwealth Games time trial champion in 2002, a stage win of the 2002 Tour Down Under, fifth in the 2005 Deutschland Tour, and winning the mountains classification in the 2006 Tour Down Under. That same year, Evans was also named Australian Cyclist of the Year.
Cadel Evans was given his name, “Cadel, in honour of three Welsh kings as his grandfather was from Wales. The Evans family has another Olympian in their stock, Australian London 2012 Paralympian Matthew Haanappel. Haanappel is Evans’ first cousin.
In 2002 Evans met Italian pianist and music teacher, Chiara Passerini. They were wed in 2005, adopting their son, Robel, in 2012. Evans and Passerini separated in 2015.
When in Australia, Evans resides in Barwon Heads, Victoria. He is a life-long supporter of the AFL Club the Geelong Cats.
Evans was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia on 10 June 2013
Philanthropy and political views
Evans is renowned for his philanthropic efforts. When he won “The Sydney Morning Herald 2007 Sports Performer of the Year”, Evans announced his commitment to donate his $50,000 winner’s prize to charity. His selection of charities included the Amy Gillett Foundation, established in memory of a former Australian rower and cyclist who was killed on the eve of a stage race in Germany in 2005, when she and her Australian teammates were struck by a car.
Another nominated charity was Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth. This foundation was established by the Olympic swimmer with the purpose of alleviating and treating illness and disease in young people under 20. When he made the announcement, Evans revealed Thorpe had visited the Northern Territory Aboriginal community of Barunga where he lived until the age of three.
Evans is a loyal supporter of the youth mental health initiative Orygen Youth Health. He has featured in the annual Suit Up & Ride corporate team cycling event in Melbourne since 2010.