Tour and Cadel waited for Tina Arena
Tina Arena has revealed how Sunday’s Tour De France celebrations were put on hold as she raced through the packed streets of Paris to reach the podium and sing the Australian national anthem.
TINA ARENA has revealed how Sunday’s Tour De France celebrations were put on hold as she raced through the packed streets of Paris to reach the podium.
The Melbourne-born singer performed an impromptu a capella version of Advance Australia Fair as Cadel Evans was crowned champion following the cyclist’s stunning victory.
It was the first time any country’s national anthem has been performed on the Tour De France podium and it came about following a frenzied exchange of telephone calls.
Paris-based Arena first heard of Evans’ victory in a text message from her French concert producer just minutes after Evans secured the yellow jersey.
Between conversations with her husband and the Australian ambassador David Ritchie, Arena made contact with key organisers behind the race, including Jean-Franois from the protocol organisation.
“I said look I’m happy to sing the Australian national anthem if they want and he called back two minutes later telling me to come down,” Arena said.
“I quickly finished our lunch and threw myself and my little one in the shower then put on our Aussie T-shirts and got in the car.”
Meanwhile Jean-Franois was checking with French television channel France 2 that a live performance would fit with the formalities.
After planning a route to avoid the various barriers and busy streets, Arena reached the Champs Elysee within half an hour where Tour De France delegates and Evans were waiting on her arrival.
“I spoke to Cadel on the podium and congratulated him and it was very teary,” Arena said.
“This man has entered the history in such an inspirational manner, he deserves the credit.
“It was one of those moments that was just meant to be, it was beautiful and a proud day to be Australian.”
Evans seemed as surprised as anyone by Arena’s last minute performance at his side.
“That was very nice of her,” he said afterwards.
“I think that’s the ultimate dream of a Tour rider, to stand on the Champs-Elysees with an Australian singing the national anthem … it’s not a dream that comes true for many Australians.”