Evans’ Tirreno defence unravels after Australian is delayed
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Evans’ Tirreno defence unravels after Australian is delayed

by VeloNation Press at 2:30 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico
 
Tour winner admits he’s behind 2011 form

Cadel EvansHaving lost twelve seconds on yesterday’s stage, Cadel Evans’ chance of defending his Tirreno-Adriatico title completely dissolved today when the Australian rider finished a full ten minutes 36 seconds behind the stage winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liqugias Cannondale) and tumbled down the general classification.

Evans ended the day 36th overall, eleven minutes and seventeen seconds back. While he was able to point to a crash on the descent prior to the final climb as something which separated him from the group, Evans also conceded that his form was not what it needed to be.

“My legs are not as good as they were last year as this time,” he said afterwards. "I'm sure they're getting better and there will be better days. But the race is much harder then last year, so that is amplifying the difference between the ones who are in shape and the rest of us.”

Evans’ slight lack of form is similar to the situation with Philippe Gilbert, who is also in the BMC Racing Team kit this year after moving from the Omega Pharma Lotto setup. Both riders aren’t panicking, though, as there’s plenty of racing ahead and therefore sufficient time to sharpen up and start winning.

Both want to perform well in the Olympic Games, and so being slightly behind their 2011 condition at this point is not necessarily a bad thing.

One who felt well today was George Hincapie. While he won’t have been able to fight with Nibali for the stage win, assistant director Fabio Baldato said that he could have performed strongly on the final climb.

“George and Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Schär were in the front group of 30 after the crash but stopped and waited for Cadel,” he said. “It was good of them to wait, but George was having a really good day and could have finished in the top 20 for sure."

The BMC Racing Team is yet to clock up its first victory of 2012. Greg Van Avermaet and Adam Blythe have both clocked up second places, finishing as runners up on stages of the Volta ao Algarve and the Tour of Qatar.

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