Former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans on Thursday confirmed he will retire from cycling in February.
7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:34 PM

The 2011 Tour winner and 2009 road race world champion said his final event would be the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean race on 1 February.

Before then he will compete at Sunday's UCI World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, followed by the Giro di Lombardia a week later and January's Santos Tour Down Under in South Australia.

"Certainly in 2015 I will race for the BMC Racing Team and I will race a full season through to the first of February 2015," said the 37-year-old Australian.

"My last race in professional cycling will be the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean road race."

Evans admitted it was his dip in form since winning the 2011 Tour that proved a contributing factor to his decision.

Malcolm Speed, new president elect of the Cycling Australia board, recognised the significance of Evans's career on Australian and world cycling.

"Significantly, Cadel hasn't just left a legacy for Australian cycling, he has left an indelible mark on the world of cycling," Speed said.

"Australia has a long and proud cycling history, but no one has had the sort of impact of Cadel.

"He's one of the select few Australian sports people to have transcended the sport, which was highlighted by the deserving reception he received at Federation Square following his historic Tour de France victory.

"He is also undoubtedly responsible for the improved health of many Australians, who have been inspired by his feats to take up cycling for recreation, racing or community.

"The name of Cadel Evans is one that will forever be celebrated in Australian sport, just as Dawn Fraser, Sir Donald Bradman, Cathy Freeman and Rod Laver are.

"We congratulate Cadel for what he has achieved, thank him for his enormous contribution to Australian cycling and wish him all the very best for his future endeavours."

A career filled with highlights

Evans will retire from cycling as a history maker whose career will forever be defined by two incredible climbing efforts.

While his 2011 Tour de France triumph made him a household name in Australia, it was an emphatic win at the 2009 world championships that signalled his arrival as a true star of road cycling.

Amid lingering doubts over his ability get the job done in big races, Evans launched a bold solo attack up the Novazzano climb in Mendrisio, Switzerland to become Australia's first road race world champion.

In typically eccentric fashion, Evans didn't sit up to celebrate, even though he was well clear of the chasing pack. Instead he shyly blew two kisses to the crowd after crossing the line. Later, on the podium, he failed to hold back tears.

The world title meant Evans was assured his place as a great among cycling purists.

But it was the now 37 year old's victory in cycling's showpiece event two years later that truly captured the attention of the Australian public.

Evans's Tour de France win was secured on Stage 18. After a long-range attack from Andy Schleck, he single-handedly dragged the chasers up the Col de Galibier.

Without the help of other GC contenders, Evans simply put his head down and ground his way up the arduous climb and dropped many of his rivals, including Alberto Contador, in the process.

It was a beautiful ride that was widely praised partly because Evans is perceived as a clean rider.

In a sport that had been brought to its knees by doping scandal after doping scandal, the Australian's win in 2011 was almost cathartic.

Evans, born in 1977, achieved so many firsts.

He started out as a mountain biker and became the first Australian to win the cross-country world cup in 1998. He repeated that in 1999.

The next year, Evans switched to road cycling.

He won the Tour of Austria in 2001 before finding himself somewhat sidelined at Germany's Team Telekom in 2003 and 2004.

In 2007 he became the first Australian to stand on the Tour de France podium in Paris when he finished second overall to Contador by just 23 seconds. Evans also won the year-long ProTour championship.

The Katherine, Northern Territory-born rider finished second in the Tour in 2008, again by less than a minute.

This time it was another Spaniard, Carlos Sastre, who denied him.

Evans secured a podium finish at the Vuelta in 2009 when he finished third just weeks before becoming world champion.

In 2010 he won the La Fleche Wallonne classic to cement his stature as an accomplished one-day rider as well as a GC man.

He was third in the Giro d'Italia in 2013 and a superb stage win in the 2014 Tour Down Under had raised hopes he could add overall victory in the Giro to his long line of achievements.

Despite being withdrawn from the Tour de France by his team BMC to focus on the Italian event, Evans faded to finish eighth overall after a bright start in what many considered concrete evidence his best cycling days were behind.

Evans wasn't a pure climber but could grind out a tempo and limit his losses against the more attacking light-weight riders. He then used his power in the time trials to make up lost ground.

In addition to his physiological gifts, he was one of the craftiest tacticians in the modern peloton, and capable of using his MTB-honed handling skills to attack on a descent or jump away in the final, twisting turns, of a race.

Evans's introverted personality made it difficult to handle the spotlight at times. He could be guarded and sometimes feisty but was always passionate and fiercely competitive.

Evans departs the sport having left a lasting legacy that will inspire future generations of Australian cyclists.

Born: Katherine, Northern Territory

DOB: 14/2/77

1995 - Started international mountain biking career at the Australian Institute of Sport
1998 - Won cross-country event at Mountain Bike World Cup and before defending the title in 1999
2000 - Switched to road cycling full time
2001 - Won overall honours at Tour of Austria
2002 - Won road time trial at Manchester Commonwealth Games
2004 - Won Tour of Austria for second time
2005 - Joined Davitamon-Lotto and finished eighth in his first Tour de France
2006 - Won Tour de Romandie
2007 - Crowned champion of UCI ProTour
- Finished 2nd overall in Tour de France to become first Australian on the podium
2008 - Finished 2nd overall again at Tour de France
2009 - Became first Australian to win the road race world title
2010 - Moved to BMC Racing and won Fleche Wallonne
2011 - Became first Australian to win Tour de France general classifaction
- Also took overall honours in Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Romandie
2012 - Won GC at Criterium International
2013 - Finished third overall in Giro d'Italia
2014 - Won Giro de Trentino and finished 2nd at Tour Down Under