Why Australia needs another Grand Tour victory

Kate Bates

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Bums on seats... Kate Bates would love to witness more Australian Grand Tour success after witnessing the startling effects of Cadel Evans' 2011 triumph on the greater community..

On the eve of the 100th edition of the Tour de France, it is not hard to see the undeniable power that cycling has to inspire, and to bring our community together.

If for no other reason, if the likes of Cadel Evans, Richie Porte, Stuart O’Grady and Simon Gerrans can enthuse more people to get on a bike, the benefit of Australian success for the greater community is compelling. 

While there are potentially hundreds of positive benefits that flow from cycling, here are my top five:

We need another generation inspired...
Without doubt, Cadel’s victory in 2011 has inspired a generation of youngsters. Just like Anna Meares did in 2012, these moments in Australian sport can go on to enthuse and motivate for years to come. Cadel's fight, courage and resilience are not only traits integral to being a TDF champion, but to being a champion of life. 

Success gets bums on bike seats...
The success of the Amy Gillet Foundation, Safe Cycing Australia and other such advocacy groups depends on an instrinsic understanding and support for cyclists of all kinds. The more people on bikes, or related to someone on a bike, or friends with someone who is on a bike, the more conscious we are of other road users.

Sustainable future for transport and road use...
Case studies from around the world show the benefits of shared road use, with bicycles becoming a more important part of sustainable transport moving forward. In a nation where riding a bicycle all year round is possible, the more road users who buy into cycle commuting, the better. Having high profile Australians such as Cadel who advocate cycling as part of your lifestyle can only help the cause.

Relationship building...
In a world where we text and Facebook like its own form of sport, cycling forces one to converse through traditional forms of communication. It helps form lasting relationships that cross business, gender and age boundaries, and brings the community closer.

In a nation of high sporting achievers, we need cycling to stay ahead of the curve.  We are a nation who would support a cockroach race if we could, so to remain in the psyche of all Australians, our high profile cyclists need to continue to notch up some victories. If we want Australia to love cycling as much as the loyal fans do, we need champions to revere.

So as we head onto the long road to Paris, I will be cheering for all the Aussies. Not just for their individual victories, but for what their successes can do for cycling in Australia.

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