Tour de France champion Cadel Evans will be welcomed home to Australia next week with a parade through the capital of his home state of Victoria.
It was initially thought Evans, the first Australian — and only third non-European — to win the Tour, would not have time to return to Australia, but will make a brief trip home ahead of the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge starting Aug. 22 in Colorado.
The Victoria state government said Wednesday that Evans would be "honored with a public celebration of his achievement at Federation Square" in downtown Melbourne on Aug. 12.
With thousands tipped to line the his route, Evans will cycle around 250 meters (yards) from the National Gallery of Victoria to Federation Square, where he will take the stage to address his fans.
Evans' mother, Helen Cocks, says her son will be shocked at the number of fans who will come to see him.
"He'll actually be blown away by just how happy everybody is for him," she said. "He's been very well known in Europe for a long time and reasonably well known here by people who follow cycling, but people who aren't even interested in cycling have recognized this is quite an amazing sporting achievement."
Evans, 34, lives in the Victorian coastal town of Barwon Heads — about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Melbourne — when not competing during the Australian summer.
"Cadel is coming home especially for this event, which will include a short bike ride and a celebration at Federation Square where Victorians will have a wonderful opportunity to yell for Cadel," Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu said in a statement.
Evans' manager Jason Bakker says the rider has been humbled by the support at home.
"He doesn't quite understand what all the fuss is. He thinks he's just a simple bike rider that's ridden around a country," Bakker said.
Evans, who this week re-signed with the BMC Racing Team through to 2014, is expected to undertake a national tour later this year, and the Australian Football League has expressed an interest in including the cyclist in its grand final day entertainment in October.