On Sunday afternoon, thousands of Australians in Paris broke the cardinal rule of living in France’s capital and headed to the Champs Elysees.
But this was no standard outing on the Champs (where as a rule of thumb you should only go to get fantastically expensive clothes, swindled — or more commonly both).
No, the reason, as tweeted and re-tweeted hundreds of thousands of times, was to #YellforCadel as he rode in to Australian history by winning the Tour de France.
The Mexican Australian wave of support
It was easy to see fellow Australians in the crowd: they were the sunburnt ones wearing flags as sarongs and starting Mexican waves. They were also likely the only ones who found the beer to be affordable (yell for the exchange rate too!).
Eventually the cyclists made it to Champs, where they whizzed around several laps, surrounded by an entourage of cars, trucks, motorbikes, and police that would make a visiting head of state green (jersey) with envy.
With the crowd 5-person deep around the barriers, seeing the race itself wasn’t easy from the ground. Some enterprising individuals climbed up trees, onto bus shelters or stood on step-ladders they had brought with them.
One Aussie, Eliza Sweeney was one of the lucky ones to be in an apartment overlooking the famous avenue.
“We were on a balcony, with shirts off, with Cadel‘s name written on the boys’ chests, it was a very Australian experience! Honestly, it was pretty spectacular and we all felt very proud and I got chills and goose bumps as they all rode around the turn.”
Others, such as Chris Green, celebrated preemptively with a quick tour of the Champs on bicycle before the race leaders arrived – a wish choice given the number of people who took to the streets once it was finished.
“Bonne nuit from Paris! I imagine Australia is waking up to celebrate the achievements of a sporting legend! Bravo,” he later tweeted.
Yell for Tina Arena too?
The atmosphere was impossible to miss, particularly when someone gave Tina Arena a microphone for her to yell the national anthem.
Cycling may be a sport better suited to being seen on TV, but being there as Cadel Evans won Australia’s first Tour de France was an experience best had on the ground – or better, topless on a balcony with a beer.