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Cadel backs Tibet for 2012

August 26, 2008

BY RUPERT GUINNESS
The Canberra Times (Australia)
August 25, 2008

Cadel Evans will back a planned bid by Team Tibet to seek an
invitation to compete at the 2012 London Olympic Games after missing
out on the Beijing Games which ended yesterday.

The Australian cyclist and dual Tour de France runner-up who competed
in the road race and time trial at Beijing met exiled Team Tibet
athletes in Zurich on Friday.

He said, "Now I know them, I hope we stay in contact. It is one thing
to read about them and to write to them, but to go and meet them in
person is something else.

"If something happens and they suddenly need a sports person from
another sport, or from another culture, I would certainly try to be
as available as I possibly could for them."

Team Tibet, formed in July last year, includes a sprinter, a 10,000m
runner, a marathoner, shot-putter, a table tennis player and a
cyclist who are all Tibetan refugees.

Evans and his wife, Chiara Passerini, who sponsor a Tibetan child,
were briefed about the team's plans at their meeting.

They were also told of the athletes' difficulties in contacting
family and friends in China because phone calls had been intercepted.

Team members warned them that a thousand Chinese spies were in
Australia observing comment and events pertaining to their campaign
for "free Tibet" and other issues.

Evans said that for now Team Tibet was "more of a political
organisation" but said the team was still determined to go one better
than at Beijing and compete at London in 2012.

The International Olympic Committee denied the Tibetan National
Olympic Committee its request for an invitation to Beijing last
December, saying that Tibet was a part of China. Evans said, ''For
London they want to focus more on the sport side of things, to go
there and actually be a part of the sport.
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