The 34 year old's victory is the first by an Australian in the event's 108 year history and has rightly caused a buzz of pride and excitement. One can only imagine the scores of bike riders who are riding the streets with a bit of extra spark at the moment in the knowledge that 'King Cadel' calls Australia home.
So historic and memorable is his win that it's been called Australia's greatest sporting moment of all time. That's a big call but in any case Cadel Evans has certainly attracted the respect and attention he deserves. He is now destined to be remembered alongside the likes of Don Bradman, Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe. But although he crossed the finish line in Paris wearing the winner's yellow jersey, his test is not yet over. We know that he's a champion cyclist, but whether he belongs in the top echelon of the true Australian icons remains to be seen. And on that score he won't be able to let his wheels do the talking.
Whether he likes it or not, Cadel Evans is a public figure with the responsibility of behaving on and off the bike like the hero we have applauded him to be. That is not news to him. Cadel has used his position before for good, in raising awareness of the plight of the Tibetan people. Let's hope his elevated fame keeps a good head on his shoulders.
We have far too many examples of talented people who made us proud and then let us down. Sports champions, pop stars, politicians- it seems through various combinations of drugs, alcohol, violence, promiscuity and dishonesty they give the media more to talk about than what thrust them into our awareness in the first place.
Sure, Evans didn't ask to be put on a pedestal. But whether he sees it as a privilege or an inconvenience, the world is watching him. He's off to a great start- no doubt assisted by the maturity of his years. So congratulations Cadel on your win and the efforts that you put in to achieve such greatness. You have made Australia proud. And please do your best to give us someone to look up to- lasting role models are so hard to come by.
Donna MacFarlane is married with three children and is a former Olympic athlete, now living in Western Australia.