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An Aussie Wins Le Tour

On Sunday Cadel Evans became the first Australia to win Le Tour de France. An extraordinary achievement, but how does it compare to other efforts by Australians?

Le Tour is without question one of the most arduous events to compete in: over 3,500km over 21 days. Evans' time was 89h 12m 22s. Incredibly, given the huge distance involved, he finished only 1m 34s ahead of his nearest rival. There is no question this is an incredibly difficult event to win. Furthermore, he's the oldest winner ever. It has to be one of the greatest sporting achievements by an Australian.

Comparing to other sports is next to impossible. How does it compare to (say) John Eales winning two Rugby World Cups (the second as captain)? Or Rod Laver's seven years as No. 1 and two tennis Grand Slams? Or Herb Elliott - undefeated over the mile and 1500m? Or our first America's Cup victory? And, of course, there are many, many other examples. Eales was part of a team, but so is Cadel; a lot of his success is down to his team. Laver competed as an individual. Does this make his efforts more worthwhile? In reality, it's impossible to judge. For mine, Heather McKay's 19 years undefeated in international Squash is truly remarkable.

Suffice to say, Cadel is at the top of his game and has won the most significant road cycling event there is. Well done.