Evans plays down his chances of taking the Flèche-Liège double
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Evans plays down his chances of taking the Flèche-Liège double

by Conal Andrews at 11:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Cadel Evans is undoubtedly benefiting from a big boost to his morale after the second big one-day race victory of his career in Flèche Wallonne, but he doesn’t appear to rate his chances too highly of taking a rare double tomorrow.

The world road race champion plays down his chances for two reasons; the course, and also because of the fact that he will be one of the big favourites.

“Flèche Wallonne simply suits me better than Liege-Bastogne-Liege," he said to Sporza. “The Mur de Huy suits me better. In the past I had often problems with the distance in Liège. 260 km: that hurt a lot early in the season.”

However there’s reason to believe that things could be a little different this year. “That was when I was working on building form, while my condition is already poised for the Giro.”

"It’s possible that on Sunday I can deal with more distance than usual. But I’m aware that after my victory on Wednesday, I will be more closely watched in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.”

Evans has twice taken a top-ten finish in La Doyenne. Fifth in 2005 was followed two years later by seventh place. And while his targeting of the Giro – plus his general strong condition this year – means that he is in better shape than those two years, he is facing one difficult problem: his lack of a sprint finish.

Liège rivals Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and double winner Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) all have a good kick and can thus go to the line with a small group and still feel confident about their chances.

Evans, on the other hand, is in the same boat as the two Schleck brothers; he can’t be sure that he’d be the quickest in a sprint and so he needs to hit out solo if he has intentions of winning the race.

Whatever happens tomorrow, though, his strong performances thus far this season mark him out as one of the best world champions of recent years. On many occasions in the past, the wearer of the rainbow jersey has had an utterly forgettable time afterwards; nobody could accuse Evans of that, given that he has ridden like a man transformed in 2010.


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