I've never seen anything quite like it before and never thought I ever would in 20 years of covering cycling as a journalist and presenter for SBS.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:37 PM




An Australian cyclist and his beautiful Italian wife make the cover of several glossy women's magazines as the country goes gaga over Cadel.

It's great, it's brilliant, and I'd like to think it will provide a turning point and a launching pad to ensuring one of the world's biggest sports has finally turned the corner in our own backyard.

Since crossing the finish line on the Champs Elysees encased in the yellow jersey almost two weeks ago, Cadel has enjoyed unparalleled exposure.

His success has launched cycling into another universe never seen before.

An Australian road cyclist winning the Tour de France for the first time is a far greater achievement than securing an Olympic gold medal or the rainbow jersey of the world champion. The media coverage and national pride generated ever since is testament to that.

There's no doubt Cadel's life will never be the same as a result and we all wish him luck for the future.

His legacy will extend beyond the expected increase in membership numbers for the thousands of clubs scattered across the country, not to mention the financial injection it will provide to the cycling industry.

Bicycle sales have already gone up and only last weekend I noticed more riders on the roads of my neighbourhood. The Cadel factor has kicked in early.

The excitement and euphoria has been explosive. I'm sure we will see more of the same when Cadel is paraded through the streets of Melbourne for his first official homecoming.

But once the dust is settled and we can go back to living a life of normality, I wonder whether the mainstream media will continue its love affair for cycling?

So far, so good. The covers of all major daily newspapers reporting on Cadel's glory on the weekend of his success was amazing, and rightly so.

I mean how could a humble cyclist hog the headlines during the winter months when footy reigns supreme?

Cadel did it. That is an achievement in itself.

But the question I ask is why the same newspapers choose to neglect the sport at any other time of year?

There are hundreds of male and female pro-cyclists plying their trade and doing the hard yards for almost 12 months of the year but what recognition to they receive?

Very little, even when they are winning.

The UCI World Tour is as prestigious as the Formula One series or scoring a goal in any of the big football leagues of Europe.

When Mark Webber finishes fifth in a grand prix or if Tim Cahill scores for Everton in a losing side it always gets reported, but if Stuart O'Grady is first across the line at Paris-Roubaix or Simon Gerrans wins a stage at the Tour of Spain, you've got to look high and low to find a couple of paragraphs in the tabloids.

The positive knock-on effects of Cadel's Tour win will be noticeable in many ways but whether owners and editors of the country's biggest media outlets choose to continue to express a similar enthusiasm in the future, I'm not so optimistic.