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He’s won on the biggest stages of cycling, including the world championships and the Tour de France, but the road to top was far from a straightforward one. This week Cadel Evans joined Bobby & Jens.
Though he would rise to tremendous heights, things started quietly in a far-flung corner of the world. “If you go to the middle of nowhere and then go a bit further, you find that there’s a hospital out there somewhere, and I was born in that hospital,” says Cadel of his upbringing in Australia’s Northern Territory. That remote location would have a profound impact on the direction of his life, forcing him towards solo sports like cycling.
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“From my background, the idea of just becoming a professional cyclist was considered completely absurd,” says Cadel. But he found himself heading down that path, beginning his career as a mountain biker in the ‘90s before dabbling in road racing on the side in between world cup races.
Cadel took us through some of his biggest career moments, including his world championship win, and the reason for his tame victory celebration there. He also provides insight into the extreme change in how he was treated by other people in the world of cycling, going from someone who was widely considered past his prime in the 2009 season to the exact opposite overnight.
Indeed, Cadel’s career wasn’t always so rosy. His story is one of finding the right mentors, team, teammates, and situation to make everything come together, even when others count you out. Cadel preaches learning lessons from the tough situations that life gives you, and moving on to find good ones.
Perhaps the best situation of Cadel’s cycling career came in the latter half with the BMC team. He talked about the 2011 Tour and how everything came together after so many years where things didn’t quite go his way. “I just want to go into this and avoid bad luck,” he remembered thinking before the Tour that finally yielded the yellow jersey. The amount of detail that he can remember over a decade later is incredible, even making the hairs stand up on co-host Bobby Julich’s arms.
But even without those career-defining wins, Cadel’s life was undeniably changed for the better by cycling. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity and the experiences and everything that cycling gave me and taught me.”
Listen to this week’s episode for the discussion.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.