I'm looking through the starting list at this year’s Tour Down Under and can’t help but notice a glaring omission. Where is Cadel?
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM




As
the world's best and most recognized riders make a bee-line to
Adelaide, Cadel Evans chooses to by-pass Australia's premier cycle race.

His non-appearance is nothing short of a major disappointment.

Cadel
may have valid reasons for not deciding to race in the first big
international event of the year, but if fit and healthy, he's missed a
golden chance to reward many fans who have watched his every move
during his magnificent performances at the last two Tours de France.

Apart
from Simon Gerrans who has returned to Spain to fulfill commitments
with his new Cervelo Test team, every Aussie rider based in either
Europe or North America who is linked with a UCI pro-team, is in
Adelaide.

At a time when Cadel's PR skills are under question,
all could have been forgiven had he simply made the short trip to South
Australia.

I understand the Tour Down Under is far too early in
the season for some whose focus is to conquer the bigger European races
later in the year.

But the same can be said for the likes of
Jens Voigt, Luis Leon Sanchez, Oscar Pereiro, George Hincapie, Gert
Stegmans and of course Lance Armstrong, just to name a few.

All
have programmes this year which take in the Spring Classics, and the
Grand Tours of Italy, France and Spain, yet all have made Adelaide
their first stop for the new season.

Not that Cadel will avoid Adelaide altogether as he has been invited to appear in the Legends Night as a guest of honour.

Sure,
more than 1500 people will attend the ticket-only dinner, but what
about the regular punters who cannot afford to rub shoulders with the
rich and famous and who stayed up until the small hours of the day last
July in a bid to urge their man on to a place on the podium in Paris?

These
same enthusiasts have also come to Adelaide to cheer on the sport's
stars in what promises to be six days of exciting racing.

Many
of us don't expect Cadel to win or perform at his peak at this time of
year. Yet, he could have used the Tour Down Under as an opportunity to
take in some valuable training, while at the same time acknowledge
those who have made him a household name in this country.

This
is not a character assassination of Australia's finest cyclist, I
genuinely believe Cadel is one of cycling's "Mr Nice Guys" but at a
time when the eyes of the world are on Adelaide, and when Australians
are leaning on the success of an international sporting hero, Cadel has
let us down this time.