Cyclists saddle up thanks to Cadel
HE has ridden himself into the history books and now it appears he might just lead the Coffs Coast to a two-wheel economic recovery.
Cadel Evans not only has everyone talking, but plenty of towns claiming him as their own.
The first Australian to ever win the Tour de France spent many of his formative years on the Coffs Coast. His father, Paul, still calls Corindi home and the champion frequently visits for family get-togethers and to train.
Those strong connections are already being translated into a surge in interest in the sport locally.
Bob Wallis Cycles manager at Homebase, Russell Thompson, said a media outlet in Perth had contacted him yesterday to get the gossip on our Coffs Coast legend.
“The traffic through my doors has increased and there are a lot of bleary-eyed people who have been staying up to watch the tour coming in,” Mr Thompson said.
“It's such a huge sports event and for him to take the title as the oldest winner in 88 years is incredible.
“I'm happy to see any Aussie win and Cadel's win will have enormous flow-on effects through all levels of the sport.”
He said the launch of the first Australian professional team, Green-Edge, which is building towards a 2012 season debut, would also benefit from the publicity boost associated with an Australian taking the Tour de France title.
Mr Thompson said with all the focus on bikes, now is a good time to buy as “big brands have sales to coincide with the tour”.
“Being winter, dedication to riding often wanes but with summer around the corner, people are beginning to feel inspired again and the tour is well placed with the new season,” he said.
“People definitely become more interested in bicycles around Tour de France time.”
He said there's a lot to get absorbed in during the prestigious three-week event, with tactics and politics on top of team dynamics and sportsmanship.
A young Cadel once worked at Woodsy's Wheels at Woolgoolga.
The business is now owned by Mal Pitts, who said the extensive coverage of the Tour de France brings a boost to local industry.
“An event like this puts the profile of the bicycle industry out there, providing exposure and enhancing public interest.”
He said Avanti released a special TDF (Tour de France) series and he's sold six of them in the past week.
“People have been coming in and asking about Cadel and there is a lot of excitement surrounding him and his win,” Mr Pitts said.
“It's good for business and encourages people to ride and explore.”