Evans starts season, eyes early win
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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Evans starts season, eyes early win

by Samuel Morrison at 4:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta a Catalunya
 
'The Basso-Contador battle in Catalonia, I'll be there too.'

Former World Champion Cadel Evans starts his season today at the Giro del Friuli one-day race in Italy. A win is not an option, but the Australian aims to do so before the Tour de France in July.

"There are many who are already strong, but Ivan [Basso] is very strong. I do not think I'll be able to fight with him," Evans told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Already at the Tirreno-Adriatico, though, I want to be with him in the group that plays for the win. Then, there's been talk of the Basso-[Alberto] Contador battle in Catalonia... I can say that I will be there too in Spain."

The Volta a Catalunya stage race in Spain runs from March 21 to 27. The key stage is the uphill finish to Andorra. Evans' schedule leading to the race will include the 187-kilometre Giro del Friuli today, Strade Bianche on Saturday, Tirreno-Adriatico stage race from March 9 to 15 and then Catalunya.

"I'll almost certainly be at Amstel and Flèche Wallonne. Liège is still in doubt."

The principle difference in Evans' schedule is that he will skip the Giro d'Italia. Last year, it was an important race for his first season with team BMC Racing. Now the team is established, he can afford to skip it and focus solely on winning the Tour de France. He finished twice second at the Tour. Last year, he finished fifth at the Giro d'Italia and 26th at the Tour de France.

"For this reason, the aim is completely on the Tour this year, although in the spring I want to take something," added Evans.

"Believe me, I am very sorry to give up at the Giro. You know that I have a strong connection with Italy, but for my team and me the opportunity is too important. After the Giro last year, I struggled to recover. Even if you do not forget that in France, I raced the last 12 stages with a broken elbow. Do you have any idea of the pain?"

Basso will also likely skip the Giro d'Italia for the Tour de France. He is a favourite to win today after his win on Sunday at the GP Lugano.

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