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Cadel Evans honored with downtown Melbourne parade

Updated: August 11, 2011, 23:06

FILE - In this July 5, 2011 file photo, stage winner Cadel Evans of Australia celebrates on the podium of the fourth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 172.5 kilometers (107.2 miles) starting in Lorient and finishing in Mur de Bretagne, Brittany, western France. Tour de France champion Evans has arrived in Australia Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011, looking forward to celebrating his victory with his home supporter. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours, Fille)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Tour de France winner Cadel Evans was back on his bike Friday - for just a few minutes and for a distance of about 250 meters - for a victory parade in downtown Melbourne.

Thousands of flag-waving spectators turned out to watch Evans ride the short distance down St. Kilda Road to popular Federation Square in the center of the city.

Evans, wearing his winners' yellow jersey, was draped in an Australian flag and had a large, stuffed toy kangaroo, complete with a joey in its pouch, riding on his handlebars.

Evans, who later signed autographs in the crowd, is the first Australian - and only third non-European - to win the most prestigious event in cycling.

"This is great, fantastic, everyone's missing out on school and work, right?'' Evans said. "I'm very proud to be able to bring back this jersey and we can celebrate it together.''

Evans landed at Melbourne Airport on Thursday to see his family and take part in several functions. He has a home at Barwon Heads south of the city.

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