Tour de France winner Cadel Evans is keen for the wheels to get turning on the 2024 edition of the race that bears his name.
Evans is in the middle of a brief visit from Europe in the lead-up to the next Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, which will be its ninth iteration and again attract a field of some of the world’s best cyclists and cycling teams.
“After our hiatus [because of COVID-19 in 2021 and 2022], like everyone in life, we’re making our way back to where we were,” he said during an interview in his hometown of Barwon Heads.
“It’s one step at a time coming back to bigger and better things, but the interest from the international teams – especially the European-based teams – is growing, and for them to travel back to Australia and prepare for a big season is returning to what it was before.”
He said he originally sketched out the idea for a local UCI WorldTour event – including a women’s ride and a community ride – in 2012 during a meeting at Barwon Heads’ At The Heads Restaurant while still a professional cyclist.
“At the time, it seemed a bit crazy, it wasn’t normal or expected, but I really had this idea of where cycling was going to be in 10 years’ time, and I think that within five years’ time, there was confirmation of a lot of other one-day women’s races, so I wonder: did we set the blueprint?”
Evans said his intention from the start was to make the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race a significant fixture on the global cycling calendar.
On this measure alone, he has succeeded, as the women’s and men’s rides are again the second races in the respective Women’s WorldTour and WorldTour seasons.
“We got there quite quickly while maintaining and increasing the quality.
“Ultimately, we want to have all the top riders coming here and be one of the monuments of cycling, but of course they’ve got an 80-year head start on us.
“It’s far and beyond met my expectations, on lots of levels: getting to the WorldTour; getting to the Women’s WorldTour; having a partner like Deakin University that helped get us onto TV… I think we were the only women’s race outside of the Olympics to have live television coverage.”
For more information on the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, including registrations for the People’s Ride, start here.
Read Surf Coast Times story here.
Image credit: Evans loves jumping on the bike to get around Barwon Heads.