Cyclist Cadel Evans was swamped by ecstatic fellow Australians as he completed his historic victory lap, winning the Tour de France.
(GlobalPost reports: A victory spin along the Champs-Elysees for Aussie Cadel Evans)
The Australian ended the three-week odyssey by personally thanking the hundreds of Australians who came along to celebrate at his victory parade along the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Sky News reports.
He is the first Australian to win the coveted race and at 34 is the oldest winner since 1923, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Last year, he had ended the race in tears.
But his 10-year dream has finally ended with victory.
Evans bounded up the steps onto the podium, taking deep breaths, then appeared at the top looking calm and waved the bouquet he received in the air, the SMH reports.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone who has had faith in me ... everyone from my teammates to my friends, my colleagues and also my competitors and everyone from the 2011 Tour de France," Evans said.
"I couldn't be happier than to be standing up right here in the middle of you," he told the roaring crowd from the dias.
Evans was quick to praise rivals Andy Schleck and his brother Frank who finished third overall.
Three hours after he crossed the finishing line and security barriers had been taken down and roads reopened, the fellow Australians were still singing Waltzing Matilda and gave him a reception worthy of a rock star, it reports.
He was hugged, mobbed and told several times that he was loved.
"I'm hoarse now, but my team-mates keep asking me if there is anyone left in Australia and I don't know," Evans said, with a beaming smile.
"To be here, with [Australian] Tina Arena singing the national anthem on the Champs-Elysees, it's 20 years of hard work. Finally everything went right," he said, Sky News reports.
"I have to reflect on it a bit … it's been an amazing thing, a real pleasure, this whole three weeks,'' Evans continued. ''A few people always believed in me, I believed in me … we did it.''