An icon of Australian sporting history has gone on display at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

The bike Cadel Evans rode in the 2008 Tour de France has been put on show in honour of the National Capital Tour, starting in Canberra on Friday.

Evans was runner-up in 2008 after being edged out in the final stages of the Tour de France, but finally took the top spot in 2011.

"Cadel's determination really endeared him to the Australian people and they've watched him for over 12 years competing at the highest level," National Museum curator Daniel Oakman said.

"We think this bicycle will really generate interest in Australian cycling."

On Friday more than 200 cyclists will begin trials for the inaugural Canberra event.

Canberra cyclist Rebecca Wiasak says the race will challenge the field with its hilly terrain.

"It's going to be a climber's tour," she said.

"The road course that finishes at the top of Corin [Forest] is really going to dictate the general classification for the women, and I believe for the men as well."

Tasmanian Nathan Earle says he is expecting some fierce competition.

"It's going to be just as tough as any other tour," he said.

"It's a little bit shorter with only three days and four stages, but that just makes the racing more aggressive.

"It will be a tough couple of days."

Evans' bike will be on display for a week at the National Museum, before becoming the centrepiece of a travelling exhibition focussing on cycling.