Evans on Australian championships: “It has gone better than I expected, that is for sure”
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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Evans on Australian championships: “It has gone better than I expected, that is for sure”

by VeloNation Press at 10:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, National Championships
 
BMC Racing Team rider pleased with early season form, buildup to Giro appears on track

Cadel EvansLining out in what was his earliest start to the season since 2005, Cadel Evans went frustrating close to starting things off with a win. The BMC Racing Team rider showed he is already in excellent form when he finished second to Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) at the end of the 183.6 kilometre race.

Evans has already made clear that he will ride the Giro d’Italia rather than the Tour de France this year and his participation in the Elite road race was part of his push to hit peak form in May.

In that light, he was very happy with today’s showing, even if he would have liked to have won.

“In a race like this one there is a jersey up for grabs, like the world championships. I have been there – I've been second at the Tour, second at the worlds [as a mountain bike rider – ed.] and now second at a national road championships,” he said after the race.

“It’s either a jersey or nothing for me, as far as I’m concerned. I won’t say it is nothing, it has gone better than I expected, that’s for sure.”

Evans had a disappointing Tour de France in 2013 but finished third in the earlier Giro d’Italia. That prompted him to focus on the Italian event this season and he will head away from the race knowing that the work he has done in recent weeks is paying off.

Netting second today doesn’t tell the full story, as he was racing solo versus many others with team-mates. In that light second place is a very commendable result.

There’s still several months to go until the start of the Giro but he knows that, at this early point at least, he is on schedule for a strong ride.

He spoke of his frustration afterwards at the close marking he experienced.

“Here on my own, they were watching every move I made. There was one or two GreenEdge or a Drapac behind me, closing the gap behind me [each time]. That group of seventeen that went after 25, 30 kilometres – I thought that was gone. That was what I expected was going to go and that was the group I went in.

“I spent a lot of energy there, and that cost me right there at the finish … I had the perfect position to come in for the finish for the win but I was just legless there in the final.”

Gerrans won the race in 2012 and went on to take the Santos Tour Down Under and Milan Sanremo. He’s hoping to do the same again and while Evans said that others were playing down Gerrans’ chances beforehand, he said that he knew he would be a danger man.

“In the week leading up, they said Gerrans was not the guy, but for me he was the one to win it,” he said. “In reality, you can talk all you want but as we saw today, that was the guy to beat.

“I couldn’t come around him in the last 100 there. I might have left my run a bit late, but the headwind… I was pretty legless there in the end.”

Evans admitted that he thought that his chances of taking a medal in the race was gone when a number of riders were clear heading towards the finale. However despite the fact that Orica GreenEdge had representation, the team decided to chase and to haul it back.

He said that he wasn’t expecting that, with the chase enabling him to get back into the running. “I suspect that Simon Clarke may have got into trouble there in front and so they decided to play their Gerrans card,” he reasoned. “That was a surprise because I really thought that group was going to go away…seventeen guys, all the teams represented, and I think Durbridge and Clarke were the second and third picks out of GreenEdge.

“I was surprised that they came back but then we were in the running again – a change of plan.”

Speaking with a lot of gratitude about the strong encouragement he and others got from the crowd, Evans gave the impression of having enjoyed the day’s racing.

“With the public and the crowd and the weather, I’d say thank you – it was a fantastic experience,” he said However he also pointed out that it is very demanding to start racing in January and to still be good at the world road race championships in September. “It is a long season for us ahead, so that is what makes it a little bit difficult,” he said. “But the crowd and the enthusiasm – it was a fantastic race.”

As regards coming back in the future and riding the event again before the finally hangs up his wheels, he was non-committal at this point. “Maybe…we will see. I saw the commissaires pretty attentive there when we stopped for calls of nature. Let's see how many fines I get first,” he said, laughing.

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