By Anthony Tan in Switzerland
Finishing in 14th place on the final stage of the Tour de Suisse, Cadel Evans can now go home content his form is on the rise in the lead-up to La Grand Boucle, the Tour de France.
The 28 year-old Davitamon-Lotto leader for the Tour de France rolled into Ulrichen in a small three-man group that also included Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee, 4'17 behind stage and eventual race winner Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), with the result seeing him finish the race 15th overall.
"It's not normal for me to be getting dropped from these guys on the climbs, but all things considered, one month ago, I was lying on the side of the road with a fractured collarbone," said Evans to Cyclingnews. "[The form's] not too bad; I just have to be patient... I'm not there with the front guys at the moment, but it's coming."
"Originally, I had Dauphiné down and to do the [ProTour team] time-trial with the guys. But things happen; I had to change the program and I've been happy with it. [My form's] just good enough to race - I'm not competitive - but I can race, and use it for the Tour."
Asked about his plans for the next 10 days leading up to the La Grand Boucle, Evans had a similar answer to that of fellow Australian McGee: rest first, before a little fine-tuning later in the week.
"Yeah, first recover and then train a little bit, which is good," he said about the slight change in dates, which saw the Tour de Suisse moved forward a little in the 2005 cycling calendar. "You get nearly all bases covered in getting ready for the Tour here. It's good to sort of fine-tune a bit; just in training, fine-tune what you're missing out on before the Tour starts, so it works out well, it's good preparation."