Evans boosts Tour's global profile
CADEL Evans has been lauded by the Tour de France race director, Christian Prudhomme, as the finest ambassador of the event for creating interest in the race around the world.
For the Tour owners, Amaury Sports Organisation, their expansion plans are focused on broadening their market for the sale of television rights, with the three-week race now shown in 190 countries worldwide.
Asked to elaborate on the significance and impact of Evans's Tour victory last year, Prudhomme told the Herald: ''It's the first time that someone from the southern hemisphere has won.It's the first time that an Australian has won.''
Prudhomme said he didn't realise the extent of Evans's impact until he read an interview with the 35-year-old champion about how well the win had been received by Tibet.
Evans's ties with Tibet are strong. He has sponsored a Tibetan child and has been a supporter of Tibet's push for freedom from Chinese occupation. In the lead-up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Evans even wore an undershirt adorned with the Tibetan flag in several early-season races.