By Ben Bulmer
Cadel Evans will not ride the Giro d'Italia and has accused race organisers RCS Sport of falsely using his name to promote its event.
On Wednesday it was announced that Evans would ride the three-week Italian stage race, adding his name to a list of overall favourites that includes Lance Armstrong, Ivan Basso and Carlos Sastre. Evans, who is currently in Australia preparing another assault on the Tour de France, denied the claims.
"I didn't announce I would be riding the Giro, the organisers did. I am not riding the Giro next year, my focus will be on winning the Tour de France in July," Evans said. "They announced I would be riding because they want publicity for their race. I have never said I would ride the Giro."
Evans said the Giro d'Italia has been the furthest thing from his mind since returning to the saddle two weeks ago. After a short off-season lay off, the runner-up in the past two editions of the Tour has been solely focused on preparing his body for July.
He listed Alberto Contador, ahead of Armstrong, as the biggest obstacle between himself and overall victory at the Tour next year, and said combating a star-studded Astana team would be difficult.
He was disappointed with a lack of off-season signings for his own Silence-Lotto squad, following the termination of new signing Bernard Kohl's contract after he tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug CERA and the loss of team-mate Yaroslav Popovych. He said there is still the potential for one or two more signings, but is not overly optimistic.
"Most of the top riders have signed contracts by now, which makes it hard, but we will be looking to get a couple more signings before the season starts," he said.