Author(s): Cadel Evans with Rob Arnold
This is the personal story of a champion in the making. Physiologically Cadel Evans has the best numbers of any cyclist tested at the Australian Institute of Sport, the organisation that is behind Australia's superstars in international sport. He was considered to be potentially one of the world's best; and that's exactly what Cadel has become. Few noticed him in his first Tour de France when in the last week he was photographed on the final climb of the stage alongside the leaders Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso. But he was determined to succeed, and that year he finished eighth. By 2006 he was fifth overall and in 2007 he lost to Alberto Contador by a mere 23 seconds. But who is this dedicated sportsman? And what has been his formula for success? Cadel Evans: Close to flying is the behind-the-scenes story of the extraordinary dedication and hard work it takes to reach the highest level of elite sport. Cadel gives us a glimpse of the physical and psychological tests that are required to be the best, whilst providing an illuminating and fascinating look at the Tour de France - the teams; the climbs; the politics and the opponents.
Cadel Evans is arguably Australia's greatest cyclist but he is no typical sporting hero. A master of one of the most solitary sports, Evans has contested the most sophisticated cycling team sport in the world, finishing second by less than a minute in the 2007 and 2008 editions of the Tour de France. Uncomfortable with media attention throughout his extraordinary career, Evans nevertheless became an ambassador for his sport and helped inspire the new popularity of cycling in Australia, a long way from Europe, the cycling continent, where the sport is lost and won. Evans was born with an incredible gift: a physiology, an aerobic capacity, that from youth, set him apart from the rest. This is a story of someone who climbs mountains in agony, for the bliss of the release at the top - in a sport of great ascents and descents, and Evans knows them all. Cadel talks candidly and philosophically about his sport, with love and respect and frustration too - that it is not perfect. His drive and focus and frustrations are as candid as his love of his sport.