DREAMS do come true.
This morning’s confirmation that 2011 Tour de France winner and Barwon Heads’ own Cadel Evans will be riding in Sunday’s MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships road race at Buninyong is the best possible news for the sport, event and Ballarat region.
We dreamed (again).
We were confident.
But now it is confirmed.
Now we just have to wait to see him on the starting line with the cream of Australia’s elite road riders.
It is a massive boon for Australian cycling fans.
This is a rare opportunity to see Evans, one of the all-time greats in world cycling in action in Australia and could easily be one of the last at this level.
The former world road champion is also riding with his team BMC Racing in the Tour Down Under in South Australia.
Evans’ presence will add thousands to number of spectators lining the 10km Buninyong circuit.
The turn out has been pushing 20,000 for the past few years.
It has become standing room only on the Mt Buninyong climb, with onlookers two and three deep in a Tour de France-like atmosphere.
What will it be like on Sunday as fans scramble to get perhaps a once in a lifetime chance to see the distinctive climbing style of Evans, which hundreds of thousands of Australians have stayed up into the early hours of June and July winter mornings to watch on torturous mountains in the Tour de France?
Many riders have been stunned by the atmosphere on the grueling climb on the championship course.
Even Evans might be surprised.
It is not about Evans winning, although there’s no doubt it be great for Cycling Australia and the sport to have his name on the road race championship honour roll.
For all he has done in the sport and for the sport in Australia, it would be only fitting.
Evans’ achievements, especially in the Tour de France, have been major factor in the explosion in the growth of the cycling (at all levels) in Australia and Cycling Australia Road National Championships road race at Buninyong.
But Sundaywill not necessarily be about Evans winning.
Riding solo against the might of a 10-strong ORICA-GreenEDGE and even bigger combination of Drapac will be extremely difficult to counter.
He will be a marked man.
Just having Evans on the bike and competing is what matters most for cycling, and from our point of view, Ballarat.
I cannot wait.
This is an opportunity too good to miss.