Evans ‘gambled a bit, but lost a lot’ on stage five of Tour of Oman
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Evans ‘gambled a bit, but lost a lot’ on stage five of Tour of Oman

by VeloNation Press at 8:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Oman
 
Australian drops to third overall but remains content about his showing in debut 2013 event

Cadel EvansDistanced in a very aggressive finale to the race by the trio of Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Tinkoff), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and the race leader Chris Froome (Sky), Cadel Evans fought hard to hold on to his second place overall in the Tour of Oman on Friday, but ultimately lost out by a very slim margin.

The BMC Racing Team rider reached the line in a group four seconds behind stage winner Froome and the other two, and as a result he drifted behind Contador in the general classification, ending the day third overall.

“I think that the aggressive racing by Saxo Bank really made the difference,” he admitted afterwards. “I looked at today’s stage thinking that things can happen, but for Alberto to overtake me on GC, for example, he had to work his team a lot. His team worked a lot, they worked well and in the end it succeeded for them in the final classification.”

Contador attacked multiple times during the stage and while he was unable to hold a lasting gap on Froome, the rider he was trying to dislodge from the red jersey, he succeeded in putting Evans in difficulty. “Alberto was very good - well, way better than me- to take the bonus seconds on the last climb,” he said.

The 2011 Tour de France winner stated after the finish that he wasn’t sure if he had dropped one or two places in the general classification. Ultimately it proved to be just one place, with the Australian now 39 seconds behind Froome and twelve seconds away from Contador, who overtook him in the overall standings. Rodriguez is eleven seconds further back.

“It was a bit of a strange race,” Evans continued, referring to the very aggressive stage and also how things ultimately turned out. “I consolidated my losses and tried to play it on the final. I expected the group to come back in the end but it didn’t come back. I gambled a bit, but lost a lot,” he stated.

However given that the Tour of Oman marks his debut event of 2013 and also his first race since suffering a virus and ending his season early in 2012, he has plenty of reasons to be satisfied. He surprised himself on yesterday’s stage to the top of the wall-like Green Mountain climb and in taking third there ahead of Contador, realised that he was fitted than he had expected.

Because of that, he’s pleased with things despite slipping back that place today.

“I stopped racing in August last year [but] I would like to think I am coming back with my normal clock now, which is a big relief,” he explained.” It has been a good introduction to racing here, good weather, good racing and a good way to start a new season. Seeing new countries and new cultures is always interesting as well.”

The race concludes tomorrow with a 144 kilometre race from Hawit Nagam Park to Matrah Corniche. A bunch sprint is expected to be the most likely outcome, meaning that Evans will likely finish third overall in the event.

Given his difficulties at times last year, the result will be welcomed by him and appears promising at this early point of the year.

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