Cadel Evans has announced he will retire from cycling on 1 February, 2015, with his final race being the first edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The 37-year-old revealed his decision on Thursday prior to the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, where Evans is a key member of the Australian team. “It has been the journey of more than a lifetime, something I could never have envisioned when first experiencing the joy of riding a bike on the dirt roads of Bamylli (Barunga) in the Northern Territory. It is amazing how far two wheels can take a person,” Evans said. “A special thank you goes to my current and final team, and to the many fans and people around the world who just enjoy riding a bike. Thank you ? and keep riding.” The announcement signals the end of an impressive international career spanning more than 20-years. Evans, who thanked the Australian public for their unwavering support over the years, said he was looking forward to this new chapter in his life and the freedom to be able to spend more time with his family. While the retirement of Evans will unquestionably be a blow to the hearts of avid cycling enthusiasts worldwide, Australian fans will have one last chance to see him ride at his own event. And big crowds are expected to watch Evans participate in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, which will be held in his home state of Victoria on 1 February, 2015. Malcolm Speed, new President elect of the Cycling Australia board, was quick to recognise the significance of Evans? career on Australian and world cycling. ?Significantly Cadel hasn’t just left a legacy for Australian cycling, he has left an indelible mark on the world of cycling,? Speed said. ?Australia has a long and proud cycling history, but no one has had the sort of impact of Cadel. ?He?s one of the select few Australian sports people to have transcended the sport, which was highlighted by the deserving reception he received at Federation Square following his historic Tour de France victory. ?He is also undoubtedly responsible for the improved health of many Australians, who have been inspired by his feats to take up cycling for recreation, racing or community. ?The name of Cadel Evans is one that will forever be celebrated in Australian sport, just as Dawn Fraser, Sir Donald Bradman, Cathy Freeman and Rod Laver are. ?We congratulate Cadel for what he has achieved, thank him for his enormous contribution to Australian cycling and wish him all the very best for his future endeavours.? Arguably the greatest Australian road cyclist in history, the Northern Territory born Evans began his historic career through mountain biking. When he was just 17 years of age, Evans placed fifth against the elite men at the 1994 UCI World Cup in Cairns, despite only being a junior at the time. This achievement was considered so significant that the top five riders were invited onto the podium, and to this day, mountain bike podiums still host the top five riders. It was clear Evans was a natural on the mountain bike, claiming the overall winner?s title at the 1998 and 1999 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Series, as well as seventh at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, but in 2001 he switched to road racing and never looked back. Between 2001 and 2009, Evans rode for Saeco, Mapei, Team Telekom and Predictor-Lotto, before joining BMC Racing in 2010 after winning the 2009 Road World Championships, in Switzerland. However, it was in 2011 that Evans became a household name, becoming the first Australian to win the Tour de France. Since this achievement, Evans has continued to succeed on both the home and international stages and just last year he finished third at the Giro d?Italia, becoming the first Australian to stand on the final podium at all three Grand Tours ? the Tours of France, Italy and Spain. He was also honoured with The Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service to cycling and the community. Evans? extensive resume includes many victories, such as claiming the Tour de Romandie in 2006 and 2011, representing Australia at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, claiming gold in the road time trial at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and silver in the road race, placing in the top ten on six different occasions at the Tour de France, including runner-up in 2007 and 2008, as well as claiming the points jersey at the 2010 Giro d?Italia and overall UCI ProTour winner in 2007.