Locums for a Small World Blog

Crikey, Cadel! Grit powers “Old Man Evans” to Australia’s first Tour de France Victory

Posted by Saralynn White


Cadel Evans has dreamed of winning the Tour de France ever since he was 14 years old. His historic win
last weekend — the first ever for Australia — has been hailed as one of the country’s finest ever sporting achievements, ranking alongside Rod Laver’s tennis exploits and their 1983 America’s Cup yachting triumph.

Our Australian friends and locums spent their time glued to the telly last week, sleeping just a handful of hours; and growing legions of fans have urged a public holiday in Evans' honor (though Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who called to congratulate the country’s new hero, has ruled that out).

Although Evans has a high profile in his home country, he is publicity shy and a bit of a mystery to most Australians. He grew up around Katherine in the Northern Territory, Armidale in New South Wales and Barwon Heads in Victoria, where he got used to riding alone. Beyond that, not much is known of his motivations. His Mum, Helen Cocks, says, “He is a simple man who likes simple things. He will be the same Cadel [after winning the Tour de France], probably just relieved,” she said. 

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Evans' Italian wife, Chiara, was admittedly consumed by emotion during the race. "You don't want to know.
I was really, really bad. Crying and everything, and calling to everyone 'How many seconds?',” she said — at times unable to bear the suspense. This was a very different Tour from the ones of the recent past — which were dominated by a single rider — Lance Armstrong or Contador. Seven or eight riders were still in competition for the victory during the climbs of the Alps in the final week. Evans looked at one point to have lost his chance, when Andy Schleck rode away from the others on the Galibier pass. But Evans held his nerve and made up the seconds to wrest the coveted yellow jersey from the younger Schleck brother. Evans' final margin of victory was a mere 1 minute, 34 seconds.

The 34-year-old Evans, the oldest champion since before World War II (and only the third non-European in the Tour’s history), stood on the podium wrapped in his national flag, his eyes tearing up as he listened to the Australian national anthem. He then embraced Andy and Frank Schleck.

 "I hope I brought a great deal of joy to my countrymen, my country," Evans said Sunday after climbing onto the winner's podium on the Champs-Elysees. "It's been a pleasure and an honor to fly the flag over here." Evans says he's now keen to put his hand up for next year's London Olympics - though a major issue is whether the Olympic road race and time trials courses will be hard enough to suit his strengths. 

Back home in the Land of Oz, a glut of cyclists has filled the country’s roadways, causing some to claim the Evans win may be more of a national tragedy than triumph, citing an unprecedented increase in the popularity of Spandex and a glut of children named Cadel and Cadelle...oy, oy, oy!



Topics: Rod Laver, Lance Armstrong, Tour de France Victory, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Armidale, Barwon Heads, Katherine, Cadel Evans, America's Cup

The Australian Open in Melbourne, a sweet spot for locum tennis fans

Posted by Saralynn White

Swiss tennis sensation, Roger Federer, once called the Australian Open (AO) the Happy Slam, saying, "If Wimbledon is staid, clubby and traditional, and the U.S. Open is high octane and glitz, the Australian Open
feels like a giant barbie break. There's a real festive atmosphere." Truer words could not have been spoken.

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Melbourne, the city that’s been dubbed the “Events Capital of Australia,” looks to serve up more than just tennis at the premier Grand Slam event of 2011. Story lines from Center Court (or Centre Court, as it's spelled here) include the absence of five-time winner, Serena Williams; the hot streak of Raphael Nadal, who’s coming off three major wins to close out 2010; and the possibility of a final showdown between Federer and Nadal - who've collectively taken 21 of the last 23 Majors. If Nadal wins, he’ll become the first player since Australia's own Rod Laver to win four Majors in a row.  

Off the court, Melbourne has braced itself for record-breaking crowds: More than 500,000 people are expected
to descend on the city and surrounding areas over the next two weeks. The on-and-off-court festival of entertainment attracted more than half a million patrons last year, with an official tournament attendance of 650,000 and a record-breaking 653,860 watching the opening of the Grand Slam event.

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The city of in-your-face sights and subtle charms will keep even the most fervent out-of-town fans occupied.
At Melbourne's heart, you'll discover historic and attractive laneways and arcades - most notably Block Place
and Royal Arcade. A distant relative of the Middle Eastern bazaar, these narrow streets offer a variety of posh shops, cafés for dining al fresco and vibrant bars.

To get away from the maddening crowd, tennis and travel fiends can hop on a tram and hit the outlying communities of Richmond, renowned for its authentic Vietnamese fare; Carlton, a staple for classic Italian;
or Fitzroy, home of tantalizing Spanish tapas. Local shops, parks, cafés, and a veritable plethora of bars cater continuously to roaming tennis fans with live streams of the AO - so no ace, smash, lob or let will be missed.  

australia long beach tasmania 123rfaustralia waves crashing rocks 123rf

Beyond the city, the state of Victoria showcases some of Australia’s most diverse and stunning natural landscapes. Surf's up in a township called Torquay, located at the door of the Great Ocean Road. The area is famous for hot surfing spots like Bells Beach; plus, some of world’s foremost surf companies including Curl, Piping Hot and Quicksilver reside right here. A short drive out of town, Alpine National Park offers a cooler
clime and hot spots for camping, hiking, mountain biking and fishing. 

Play at the AO continues until January 30, which means it’s not too late to make the trip to Melbourne. If you're working down under now we have to say it: Advantage - locum tenens. For those of you everywhere else this year, catch some volleys on the telly and remember you only have eleven months to get ready for next year. 

Topics: Australian Open, Rod Laver, Torquay AU, Alpine National Park AU, Melbourne AU

Locums for a Small World Blog

Twice a month, our inquisitive locum tenens community asks us to tackle topics ranging from cuisine and culture to recreation and entertainment. We also include great storytelling from our doctors. Have a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know.

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