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Australia yells for Cadel at Australian Road Nationals

Aaron S. Lee
January 12, 09:28,
January 12, 09:29
First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, January 12, 2014
Cycling Australia Road National Championships
The 2014 Men's road race podium, Richie Porte (Team Sky), Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Cadel Evans (BMC)

The 2014 Men's road race podium, Richie Porte (Team Sky), Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Cadel Evans (BMC)

  • The 2014 Men's road race podium, Richie Porte (Team Sky), Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Cadel Evans (BMC)
  • Cadel Evans reaches the top of the climb as the pace in chase of the break picks up a gear
  • Cadel Evans was looking comfortable in the bunch early on
  • Cadel Evans (BMC) at the sign in for the 2014 national road race

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Evans sprints to second place behind Gerrans

An estimated 23,000 spectators lined the Australian National Road Race Championships' 10.1km course in Buninyong, just 12km southeast of Ballarat, Victoria to watch the greatest Australian field ever assembled, including former World Champion and Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans, race the 18-lap, 183.6km circuit.

Evans, the sole Team BMC rider on the start, and making his first trip back to Ballarat in nine years, downplayed his championship aspirations in the lead-up to the race. Evans told Cyclingnews he was "hopelessly outnumbered" by both Orica-GreenEdge and Drapac Pro Cycling. Nevertheless, the 2009 UCI World Champion overcame a wheel change on lap 16 and had a crack on the final climb up Buninyong Hill before sprinting to the finish behind now two-time champion Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and rival Richie Porte (Sky).

"I have always been here on my own and never had a teammate," said Evans after finishing his fifth Road Nationals. "I feel as though everyone just wants to be in a break without me, or then in the final kilometres follow me. This was by far my best opportunity."

The 36-year-old Evans, who turns 37 in February, wanted to jump with 160 metres to go he did not have enough in the tank which was compounded by a slight gradient and noticeable headwind at at the finish line. "I left it a bit late but I just couldn't accelerate anymore, I exhausted myself too much early on," he said.

The former national XC MTB champion, was an odds-on fan favourite to win his first national road race jersey despite receiving some negative feedback after comments he made the day before in the Sydney Morning Herald on the value of the national title. The crowd was clearly pro-Cadel from the moment he signed in prior to the start.

"From the public, the crowd, the weather and the town, I say thank you," said Evans. "Most people seem to be happy to have me here. It is so nice to be welcomed by everyone. It was a fantastic experience."

In terms of the quality of the racing, Evans says the first race of the year is always difficult, and that it could play a factor by season's end.

"It was a little hard in January," he said. "When I line up at the world championships – if I line up at the world championships – at the end of the race they are going to be asking me probably what's the matter with me. It's a long season for us ahead. That side of things makes it a little difficult but the crowd and so on – the enthusiasm – it's a fantastic race."

Now Evans returns to Adelaide for the first time since 2010 to start his 2014 WorldTour racing program at the Tour Down Under before turning his attention toward his main objective – winning the Giro d'Italia.

"I really came here to get a good stepping stone into the Tour Down Under and of course on to the Giro," Evans concluded. "So to be there in the end with a chance for the win was really more than I had expected."

PabloM 7 months ago
Great race to watch. Full credit to Simon Gerrans and Orica GreenEdge. They had such a strong team. Brilliant tactical rides from Cadel and Ritchie Porte. Cadel, in particular, with no team mates to support him. To come second in such a tough race augurs well for the next few months. I hope he doesn't peak too early for the Giro.
CyclingsChanged 7 months ago
Cradle was the real winner today......
Ridley Rider 7 months ago
Standing on the side of the road watching this race unfold it was truly a great race! Despite the size of the OGE team Cadel and Richie nearly did the unthinkable. Never the less it was a great race, incredible tactics and the cream really rose to the top and those lucky enough to be there got to witness 3 great champions fight it out to be our National Road Champion. Couldn't ask for much more. Go Cadel, best of luck for the season, Gerro to give the TDU a shake and Richie, an Aussie 1,2 at the Giro - Evans, Porte then ?. Go Aussies!
wheel chaser 7 months ago
Good ride Cadel, I knew your many fans wouldn't let a silly debate over Nationalism change their thoughts about you.
yenrod 7 months ago
Evans really wanted that - you could tell. But, as always in cycling, races are never gifted, yet who can deny Gerrans in an uphill sprint no one not even Sparticus or Valverde or Gilbert...
Bender6amer 7 months ago
or Sagan...
srsplato 7 months ago
Isn't it funny how Cadel soon to be 37 gets second in a race with tough competition and no one has mentioned PED's? Is it because it is Cadel, or have we finally got tired of accusing every racer that does well in a race that is over 30 years of age?
cothercott 7 months ago
I don't think for one minute Cadel is a doper but I do see your point! If it was an ageing Chris Froome the knives would be out!
bike_boy 7 months ago
Cadel has been pretty consistent throughout his career, never brilliant but consistently good. Perhaps if cycling was cleaner he would have totally dominated and been 'brilliant'? His physiology is off the charts.
philjthommo 7 months ago
'never brilliant'? how many TdF wins, GT podiums and WT races have you won? Thought i would mention this even though i understand and agree with your point.
Cookster15 7 months ago
Agree with Bikeboy. Plus Cadel is 5 years younger than the current Vuelta champion. 37 is not that old to be competitive - especially if you have a big engine as Cadel has. Well done to him at the Aust titles.
DeeCeeee 7 months ago
Because it 's a one day race and PED's are more effective in the longer GT's?
srsplato 7 months ago
By the way, It is great to see Cadel doing so well. I had written him off this year.
ellenbrook2001 7 months ago
any race in a flat finished hes not fair only the sprinter can win so the strong men never win anywhere GERANS has been help by another team mate to set up the sprint so CADEL never had a chance but anywhere CADEL hes back at his best.