Cadel Evans pledges to fight to the end to honour Aldo Sassi
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Friday, October 01, 2010

Cadel Evans pledges to fight to the end to honour Aldo Sassi

by Shane Stokes at 3:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Italian coach believes he has necessary fitness to win, but course might be too easy

Cadel EvansDefending world champion Cadel Evans has said that this year’s course doesn’t suit him as well as last year’s circuit in Mendrisio, but will do what he can to try to land a strong result on home soil.

One motivation for him is to perform well in front of his coach Aldo Sassi, who has travelled to Australia despite having serious cancer.

''He has four untreatable tumours in the upper part of his brain. Just for him to make the trip out here was something,'' Evans told Sydney Morning Herald journalist Rupert Guinness.

Evans was asked if he would dedicate another worlds victory to Sassi. “'First you've got to win it,'' Evans he answered. “'But certainly the motivation - most of the people in my [situation] would have stopped their season after the Tour. I had a broken arm, and I was out. I want to fight it to the end while Aldo is still around with us and give it everything I've got, as he has given [so much] to my career since we've started working together.

“'His situation has certainly pushed me a lot further than I would have otherwise gone this year. That's what got me through, actually, thinking of the difficulty he, and particularly his family, are going through.”

Sassi is hugely respected in cycling, both as a coach and also as someone who has spoken out against doping. He insists that the riders he guides submit themselves to rigorous tests. He helped rebuild Ivan Basso’s image by working with the Italian, who was banned due to his links with Operación Puerto. Basso won this year’s Giro and Sassi has said that he believes it was a clean, genuine victory.

Sassi appeared at the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference this week, giving his thoughts on the way forward in the fight against doping. He also stated that he wants to work with riders who are committed to clean cycling, particularly as he said he doesn’t know how long he has left to live.

That statement, plus Evans’ disclosure about untreatable tumours, suggests that Sassi is unfortunately facing a difficult future. He has done a lot for cycling, and many will be wishing him well in that battle.

The Italian believes that Evans is in very good condition, but also accepts that the circuit might not be tough enough for him to win. 'Cadel is more ready than he thinks, he's at a higher level than he thinks,” he said. ''In a race like Mendrisio, he would be very ready; on a course like this, it's a bit too easy for him.''

Evans has been one of the best world champions in decades, riding very aggressively up until the moment where he broke his elbow in the Tour. He clocked up many important results, including victories on a stage of the Giro d’Italia and in Flèche Wallonne.

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