By Tim Maloney, European Editor, and Hedwig Kröner
Cyclingnews caught up with Lotto-Davitamon's GC rider Cadel Evans at both ends of Paris-Nice: on a cold morning on Stage 1, and after the finish in Nice. At the start in Etampes, Evans simply wasn't too sure of how Paris-Nice would turn out for him. "It's early in the season and things have been touch and go for me this season, so here it's just no pressure and see how it goes.I had a good build-up to the season until I got tonsillitis a few weeks ago so I have to keep that in mind. Maybe I'll be good and maybe I'll be bad."
Evans has one big goal for 2005: "The Tour...not just to make it, but to do well there," he told Cyclingnews. "I hope to do all the hard ProTour races and have a pretty heavy racing program building up to the Tour. I prefer to race a bit more this season and at my new team Davitamon-Lotto, there's really great organisation and the right people around me. Right now, I'm healthy and happy at this team and everything that I need to do will is there for me. Now it's a matter of getting it all together and doing it right."
By the finish of Paris-Nice, Evans got it right, with an eighth place on GC and a superb second place on Stage 5 that finished on le Mont Faron. Post race, Cadel explained about Paris-Nice, "Yeah, it's been a pretty good start of the year for me. With the wind, the cutting down of the stages, the hills and average speed still going at 45, 47, the racing at Paris-Nice has been very intense! I wanted to test myself on Mont Faron, and that's been OK. I just wanted to see how it goes and it's been good so far."
Next, Evans will tackle Setmana Catalana, then the Vuelta a Pais Vasco and Flèche Wallonne. "We'll see how it goes and I might add some more Belgian races then like Liege-Bastogne-Liege. After that, I'll fit in a rest in that schedule because my real goals are further down the season," he finished.