Congratulations to Australia's Cadel Evans, the new men's world road race champion and this country's greatest ever cyclist, writes Mike Tomalaris.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Cadel Evans crosses the line in Mendrisio, Switzerland as road cycling's new world champion.

He blows a kiss to his wife Chiara
watching in the stands and also to the thousands waiting at the finish
line, and the millions more watching on television around the world.

He immediately reaches for his wedding ring which is attached to a chain he wears around his neck and starts kissing it.

Cadel is on the brink of breaking down on realising a dream and conquering one of world cycling's highest accomplishments.

It's also a symbolic salute to the many supporters who have followed his career. What a ride - what a rider - what a champion!

He has created Australian sporting history and there was nothing flukey about his performance.

There were no pre-race expectations, nor the pressures that surround his every ride during the rest of the season.

It looks like if you give the guy some space, he'll deliver - but I'll be the first to admit I had my doubts that Cadel could pull off such a stunning performance.

Especially after he conceded just days before the event that maybe he wasn't suited to the parcours,
and only a week after clinching third place at the gruelling Tour of
Spain - an event where he experienced bad luck which included a broken
chain and puncture at a time when he could have launched himself to
overall victory.

Was he bluffing? Hedging his bets? Or was it a
simple case of Cadel having so much drive within that nothing else
mattered - only to win in a town located just five kilometres from his
Swiss-based home.

But it was the way he did it on the last climb of the day that was simply awesome.

For
so long criticised for failing to attack in the big stages of the Grand
Tours, he attacked with five kilometres to go as if his life depended
it, a move that will go down in cycling folklore.

It was stunning stuff from a man who has always believed in himself, even if others around him have chosen not to do so.

And who said he could or would never win a one-day race?

On this performance, perhaps Cadel has been barking up the wrong tree all this time. Perhaps, his future is as a European Spring Classics specialist.

After
all if you look at his road racing career, he has enjoyed winning
success in very few stage races, despite wearing the leader'sjerseys in all three Grand Tours - the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta.

So much has been said about Cadel since arriving onto the world pro-circuit after crossing over from a successful career in mountain bikes.

Off the bike, some may view his personality as complex - even his peers have trouble understanding his make-up and nature.


But deep down he's a tough and talented rider who clearly knows how to win.

If
Phil Anderson is considered the greatest cyclist Australia has ever
produced, then Cadel has just taken the mantle from his modern-day
predecessor.

I, for one have been waiting for this day to arrive for many year.


And now, Cadel Evans will defend his world title at the 2010 championships in Australia, again located close to his front door.

Today I sincerely salute Cadel Evans, and tomorrow we should all respect what he has done for himself and for the sport in Australia.

The finale, Italian commentary.