By Hedwig Kröner
After the penultimate ProTour race this season, Paris-Tours, Italian rider Danilo Di Luca is still leading the overall classification. The Liquigas pro, who won the series last year, has 17 points advantage over Australian Cadel Evans (Predictor). Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) sit in third and fourth position, 51 and 52 points back of the Italian.
At the last ProTour race, the Giro di Lombardia, 50 points will again be awarded to the winner - so theoretically, Di Luca's only rival is Evans. The Australian will honour the competition in Italy and try to aim for a top placing ahead of Di Luca, but he is unsure of his form this late in the season.
"I'm running on empty, to be honest, but I'll see what I can do," Evans said after the World Championships in Stuttgart. "I'll have a bit of a rest and do what I can." If Di Luca has an off-day, a sixth position in Lombardy would be sufficient to dethrone the Italian, but that is unlikely to happen.