Cadel Evans fell slightly short of taking his first and the team's first win of the 2009 season. The Australian of team Silence-Lotto finished second to Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) in Thursday's Coppi e Bartali's stage three.
"I wanted the stage. We have not been able to gain one yet: misfortune in the team time trial, a surprise in Faenza from Cunego and Serpa," he said to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Evans fired from an elite eight-man group in the final 1000 metres of the 163.4-kilometre stage. Unfortunately, he brought along fast finisher Cunego for the last stretch up Serramazzoni.
"The first attack was to make the selection. ... Then I was ready to make a second move, but I waited a long time, too long. I was not able to pull back Damiano."
Silence-Lotto is desperate for a first 2009 victory, as its Belgian rival Quick Step already has eleven wins. If Evans does not deliver in Italy, then a win could come from a teammate this weekend in one of the two weekend races in Belgium: E3 Prijs or Brabantse Pijl.
Coppi e Bartali's 178.5-kilometre run from Massa Finalese to Finale Emilia today will suit the sprinters. Evans may have his chance Saturday when the stage race ends with a demanding stage to Sassuolo.
Evans travels to Spain next for the País Vasco stage race, April 6-11. He will then race the Ardennes Classics: Amstel Gold (April 19), Flèche Wallonne (April 22) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 26). He will follow these one-day races with the Dauphiné Libéré, June 7-14, and then the Tour de France, July 4-26. (GB)