By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Dahlonega, Georgia
Canadian road champion Cameron Evans (Symmetrics) flew the maple leaf flag proudly during the long break of the fifth stage of the Tour de Georgia. More impressive was that Evans had to sit out all of the 2005 and part of the 2006 season due to a nasty injury – putting on hold a promising career. Today's strong ride, combined with his win in San Dimas last month, shows that he is coming back to his pre-injury form.
"It was January of 2005 when I shattered my kneecap and broke a bone in my leg," he told Cyclingnews. "It pretty much put me out for a year and a half. I started in 2006 to come back and 2007 was a rebuilding year. This was my first year where I didn't have to do a lot of rehab."
Evans rode in today's long break with Tim Johnson (Health Net-Maxxis), Teddy King (Bissell) and Valery Kobzarenko (Team Type 1), only to be caught on the final KOM with just 2km to the finish. "At that point I looked behind and saw the field there, so I knew it was over with us," he said. "We knew it was a long day, and when the gap went up quickly it would be on in the end, so we tried to conserve. Maybe if it wasn't for that last little hill..."
Evans seemed to be climbing well, and did take first on one of the KOM climbs, but he said that was a secondary concern today. "The first KOM I thought a bit about it, but it seemed too early to put out that effort. I saved myself a little bit and I think those guys paid for it a little bit in the end.
"I thought a little bit about [the KOM jersey] but after 200km in the break I don't know how I would be defending it tomorrow!"