The plainly written palmares Cadel Evans amassed during 2010 does no justice to the season the 2009 world champion enjoyed.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Tour Down Under: 6th overall, Most Aggressive rider Stage 5.

La Flèche Wallonne: 1st overall.

Tirreno–Adriatico: 3rd overall.

Giro d'Italia: 5th overall, 1st Stage 7, 1st Points Classification, 1st Azzurri d'Italia Classification, held Maglia Rosa for Stage 2.

Liège–Bastogne–Liège: 4th overall.

Tour de France: Held Yellow Jersey Stage 9.

This plainly written palmares Cadel Evans amassed during 2010 does no justice to the season the 2009 world champion enjoyed.

It was, quite simply, one of the best defences of a world championship jersey that the sport has ever seen.

Gallant, aggressive and determined are some of the words that come to mind. And should a different Australian win that title in the future they will have an incredibly high standard to live up to.

Nothing less than dying in a ditch to win will do - something Evans looked like he accomplished after the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia.

Noteworthy too is that Evans held his form from Adelaide at the Tour Down Under to Geelong at the world championships, which as an Australian you have to like.

"My goal with the rainbow jersey was to have a good year and if I have a good year, I would honour the rainbow jersey," Evans said after Sunday's race.

"I get the feeling from guys like (world cycling boss) Mr Pat McQuaid and so on they were really happy to have the rainbow jersey out in front in January at the Tour Down Under, going for the pink jersey in the Giro or the yellow jersey in the Tour.

This consistency has always been a hallmark of Evans's cycling career. It wasn't a new trick - he did the same during his MTB days, racing from go-to-woe - the true mark of a world-class athlete.

And his 2009 season brought back memories of a time when professional road cyclists raced and won across all disciplines of the sport.

Grand Tours, week-long stage races, one dayers and classics.

It may be a one-eyed call to some but I regard Evans as the best bike rider in the world during 2010 because of this consistency, despite the final UCI end-of-year rankings.

While Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso Andy Schleck and Vincenzo Nibali are essentially one-trick pony's, Evans can be relied upon to deliver on a number of stages.

The world championship race pretty well mirrored Evans's entire season, he was always doggedly in the mix, and for a moment looked like he might pull off the rare trick of consecutive titles.

He placed himself in all the moves, staying in touch right to the end and finishing his season the same way it began - doggedly. It was dammed exciting.

"In the last three laps, there were a couple of moments where I got away in a little group and so on, I had to be lucky - I knew that a year out," Evans said.

There is an old sporting adage that says you have to be good to be lucky, Evans was good - very good.

Some will refer to his bravery at the Tour de France as his finest moment but I prefer a winning one that I think defines him as a rider.

Of all Evans's performances the one that I'll carry with me forever is Stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia, with the image at the top of this post telling you everything you need to know about what happened that day.

His assault on the strade bianche on his way to the finish at Montalcino took place in weather conditions better suited to a Humvee was remarkable, and it could be the best performance by any Australian in a bike race of all time, with Evans claiming the stage ahead of two similarly gritty riders, Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) in an uphill sprint finish.

In the sheds Cunego looked back to history to describe the day, saying, "With the rain and the roads in the finale, it was like a race from another age."

And that's how I see Evans: a rider from another age. In fact one for the ages.

Hagiography over.