From Cadel Evans to super-sprinter Peter Sagan, many of the Tour’s top contenders have off-road roots. —Jason Sumner
Cadel Evans (BMC)
Obviously Cadel Evans is best known as the first Australian to win the overall title at the Tour de France, a feat accomplished a year ago during his second season with the U.S.-based BMC Racing Team. But before Evans was knocking heads on the roads in France, he was kicking butt on cross-country trails all over the world. Evans won two silver and one bronze at the world championships during his junior and U23 days, then jumped to the elite ranks and grabbed the XC World Cup overall in 1998 and 1999 as a member of the powerhouse Volvo-Cannondale team. But with top-level mountain bike racing in a state of decline, Evans opted to start his transition to road racing in 2000.