53 Brentwood Blog

Sunday, July 24, 2011

PARIS — Cadel Evans became the first Australian and, at 34, the oldest man in 88 years to win the Tour de France on Sunday. He only wished Aldo Sassi had been alive to see it.

Sassi, an Italian, was Evans’s longtime coach, the person most responsible for his transformation from mountain bike champion to road cycling force. Before Sassi died from brain cancer last December, he told Evans one final wish: that he win the prestigious Tour, to become, in Sassi’s words, “the most complete rider of your generation.”

Evans relayed that story Saturday, after he vaulted atop the leaderboard with a 26-mile sprint that defined both his triumph in this race and the most dramatic Tour in years. As Evans continued, his eyes red and watery, his voice cracked repeatedly, and he bit his bottom lip.

Sassi, Evans said, “often believed in me more than I did.”




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