This month’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race will mark the one-year anniversary of Australian cycling legend, Cadel Evans’, retirement.
After a lifetime of bikes, travel and carbs we sat down with the man himself to discuss all things post-retirement.
Released this week in a three-part series, catch up with Australia’s only Tour de France champion – one year on…
Part three: Knowledge and the future
- What does the first year of retirement teach you about life outside the bubble of being a pro athlete?
That being a pro athlete is really hard and really intense.
- Is there anything that you’ve learnt this year that you wish you had known when you were a cyclist?
You step away from the sport and see things with a much broader perspective, but of course you also forget some of the important details and so it’s hard to say would I make decision differently on something I did ten years ago, probably not. I think if I’ve noticed one thing, it’s been great to see and experience in the first person the amount of people who enjoy and love cycling.
- You’ve said a few times that you’re one of the most experienced guys in the sport but you had no experience at retirement, now that you’ve experienced retirement what advice would you give somebody of any professional sport that’s on the brink of retirement?
I was speaking to a very revered sports person, I’ll say a revered AFL player, the other day and I just said don’t be scared of it!
- Which cyclist excites you most to watch, now that you’re no longer having to race against them?
I have a great affinity with the riders, some of my competitors, but also my teammates. This year watching Rohan Dennis’ prologue was fantastic, (Peter) Sagan’s ride at the world championships really impressed me and Nibali’s ride at Lombardia.
- Can you name five riders you think we should watch in 2016?
I think Rohan (Dennis) will continue to develop, Jack Haig will be interesting in the pro ranks and I think Caleb Ewan will continue his progress too.
I’m interested in South African rider Louis Meintjes. He has made an interesting move in teams and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
And for number 5, I hope that Greg van Avermaet’s stage win at the Tour gives him a new sense of strength and also confidence from his team and teammates
- What excites you about the future of cycling?
I’m interested in a few of the technological developments that are coming through with disk breaks and so on but I think the biggest interest for us as spectators of racing will be the development of on-board TV cameras.
- And what about bikes? What part will bikes play in the rest of your life?
I look at bikes now with more awe and happiness than I did as a professional.
Part Two: Cycling, hobbies & that competitive spirit
- You still ride the bike. How often? And do you measure it?
I ride as often as I can. I still count kilometres and sometimes wear a heart rate monitor too. I count the kilometres to give myself motivation or sometimes just for reaffirmation of why I might be tired. And I wear the heart rate monitor as an analysis to give me something or a reason to push myself.
- Now that it’s choice which climbs do you choose to do and which climbs do you avoid?
While I’m still fit I still do all the hard ones.
- Where do you get the most joy out of riding?
Pretty much everywhere. When I’m in Australia I ride to Lorne and absolutely love it. I still stop and take photos, actually now I stop and take more photos because I don’t have to be training. And just before I came over to Australia I did this fantastic mountain bike ride on the hills above Mendrisio. I’m pretty much happy to ride anywhere there’s not much traffic, few people and great scenery.
- Do you still have a competitive spirit?
Yes, but it doesn’t come out very often on the bike these days.
- How do you satisfy it then?
I race my son. He always sets the finish line where it suits him!
- What’s your favourite hobby?
It’s still catching up on a lot of lost time. I spend more time with my son now; that would be the main thing.
- Would you classify cycling now as a hobby?
Yeah, well actually that’s probably a good point. I hike a lot, I ride a lot and I run a bit now that I have retired too.
Coming next… Part three: Cycling and the future
Part One: Settling in & coping with change
- What was it like to settle into life without elite training?
Not as hard as most people think. Now I can go out on my bike knowing that I’m probably not going to have to hurt myself and can enjoy it.
- What does a typical day look like now compared to when you were racing, training, preparing for the Tour?
Days involve pretty much the same things. But the ‘off the bike’ appointments are much greater and much longer and the ‘one the bike’ appointments are more of a case of ‘I have time to ride today’.
- What are you enjoying most about retirement and do you miss anything about racing?
I’m enjoying having healthy levels of stress as opposed to the levels they were as a bike rider but I miss the regular massages!
- The life of professional cyclist involves a lot of time away on the road. How much of that is still part of your life?
I still travel a lot, because after travelling as much as I have over the past 20years I’d probably go crazy if I had to stay home for more than a month. Home is wherever my suitcase is.
Coming next… Part two: Cycling, hobbies & that competitive spirit.