There were a few touches that embodied what a good-natured, humble bloke Cadel is. The acknowledgement of the 20 kids chosen to ride along side him, the extra effort he took to shake as many hands as possible, and the stopping to accept a sprig of wattle a fan passed to him. I saw so many kids around, some sporting custom made BMC jerseys, and some with slogans like 'the next Cadel' accross their chest. It was great to see and I couldn't think of a better role model for these young ones.
After the officials (including the Premier Ted Bailleu and the Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle) had their say, Cadel was presented with a trophy from the state of Victoria and an enormous yellow jersey, handed down from the crowd.
Disappointingly, the compare and the big wigs couldn't resist an opportunity to talk about football, even on a day that was all about cycling, I counted at least seven references to bloody AFL in their commentary!
Cadel was then given the opportunity to thank the crowd and said a few words, in the form of an interview. He cracked a few jokes and spoke a little about what it was like chasing down Andy Schleck on that fateful day on the Galibier, and how it felt as he ate away at Andy's lead in the final time trial. He lightheartedly joked "none of us are getting any younger" when asked about the future, then went on to hint at plans to go on to defend his title next year.
Personally, it was great to see the man up close and 'Yell For Cadel'. Being a cycling fanatic I relished in the opportunity to see and cheer on the man in person, even if it was from a distance! I'm going to go and nurse my heels now - they copped quite a battering from those prams!
The massive crowd at Federation Square
The Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu
Brilliant! A dog with a yellow jersey!
Cadel's wife Chiara, and his mum