The message to Cadel Evans from fans ahead of the 2011 Tour de France is clear: don't lose faith in us, because we haven't lost faith in you, writes Michael Tomalaris.
After Cadel Evans crossed the finish line as a deserved winner in the Tour de Romandie I observed with interest the media coverage his success generated.
I was pleasantly delighted that all of the free-to-air television networks, commercial included, gave Cadel's victory a mention in their respective nightly news bulletins.
I noted with interest that every network (including mine) used vision from the final stage at Romandie from the abbreviated and grainy footage made available by Eurosport news - the only access available in Australia.
With so much coverage, it reminded me of Cadel's status as a respected Australian sporting figure and the role he plays both for himself and Australian cycling on the world stage.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if a lesser-known Australian cyclist had topped the podium at Romandie would the same television news coverage be given by the networks?
I hardly think so.
So it came as quite a surprise when I noticed a quote made by Cadel to the French daily sports newspaper, L'Equipe, immediately after his tremendous win.
When asked if he could win the Tour de France after finishing runner-up in 2007 and 2008, Cadel said.
''I haven't given up on winning the Tour. I still believe in it, but perhaps the rest of the world doesn't."
It's terrific that Cadel is focused on conquering world cycling's biggest event, but it's the second part of the quote that initially puzzled me and later struck me as a little disappointing.
Here it is again: "Perhaps the rest of the world doesn't believe?" What are you talking about, Cadel?
If he meant the rest of the world except those avid supporters in the country of his birth, then perhaps I could understand the comment.
But if he included Australa and Australians collectively, then Cadel is definitely WRONG!
Those of us who have followed Cadel's career can't wait for the day he realises his personal dream of becoming the first Australian to win the Tour de France.
The ratings figures are proof that a large television audience is glued to SBS through the wee hours of cold Winter mornings - all of whom are willing, urging and racing every pedal he pushes in the hope of seeing him finally crack an overall Tour win.
Not to mention the many Aussie flags that can be seen on the side of French roads during the Tour?
They're not put there by a "rent-a-crowd" but by fans who have made a concerted effort to support Cadel and the other Aussies to glory.
When Cadel broke down during the 2010 Tour after losing the leader's yellow jersey as a result of a fractured elbow, an entire nation also wept with him.
We thought 2010 was finally going to be the year.
I'm sure I speak on behalf of all Cadel supporters when I say we genuinely feel and live through all of his trials and tribulations every time he jumps on the bike for a Tour de France assault.
As far as I'm concerned, Cadel is a modern-day Don Bradman, Dawn Fraser, Ken Rosewall rolled into one - a pioneer who can single-handedly give international cycling the profile it deserves on Australia's sporting landscape.
So, given his form and results so far this year, I have complete confidence and faith in Cadel.
I can only hope he has the same confidence and faith in us.
Cadel - we believe!!!