Miguel Indurain names Cadel Evans as his rider of the season
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Miguel Indurain names Cadel Evans as his rider of the season

by Shane Stokes at 5:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Believes Alberto Contador will bounce back in 2012

Miguel IndurainAsked to weigh up the 2011 season, Miguel Indurain has picked the Australian Cadel Evans as his nomination of the rider of the year, ahead of others such as Alberto Contador.

The five-time Tour winner said that he believed the 34 year old rider was the ‘best of the season.’

“It's hard to say if Cavendish is the best in the world, but he has had a great season,” Indurain stated to the Efe agency. “But of all the areas I prefer the Grand Tours most and the best in this has been Cadel Evans.”

After years of trying and two runner-up slots, Evans finally succeeded in winning the Tour when he showed he was one of the strongest in both the mountains and the time trials. He overcame Andy Schleck on the penultimate day, beating him comprehensively in the race against the clock to ensure he finished above him and his brother Franck Schleck on the podium in Paris.

His season results also incude a stage win and overall success in Tirreno Adriatico, plus the general classification of the Tour de Romandie. Evans’ consistency was such that he was also second in the Critérium du Dauphiné, seventh overall in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and eighth in the Volta a Catalunya.

Indurain’s choice puts Evans ahead of Alberto Contador, who won the Giro d’Italia, netting two stages there, and also stage winner and overall victor in the Vuelta a Murcia, the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta a Castilla y León. His Giro exertions plus the emotional strain of his ongoing battle to clear his name as regards his Clenbuterol positive saw him below par in the Tour, where he finished fifth.

Indurain said that he believes that the rider will bounce back next year. He advised him to carefully chose his racing programme. “Contador has to find the best thing for him and look at the route of the Giro, examine whether it is of interest to him or not,” he said. “What he decides will be well thought out. What is clear is that he can return to his best level after a season that has been become very long [for him]. He will recover his pedal stroke.”

Contador previously said that he would miss the Giro, and instead do the Tour-Vuelta double. Before then he faces a CAS hearing in November which will determine if he will be able to race next year.

Evans has no such worries and will calmly prepare for the 2012 season this autumn and winter.


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