Although Cadel Evans has admitted that he is unlikely to win the Tour de France again, the BMC rider is determined to try and return to his former levels next season, where he is expected to line up at the Giro d’Italia rather than at the Tour.
In an interview with L’Équipe, Evans acknowledged that at 36 years of age, he will be hard-pressed to repeat his Tour de France victory of 2011. “I won’t say that it’s impossible [to win the Tour again] but it’s very, very difficult and, for me, unlikely,” Evans said. “Does that surprise you?”
Evans finished 3rd in this year’s Giro but went on to struggle at the Tour and has ruled out the possibility of lining up at both races next season. “I won’t do the Giro-Tour double two years running. It cost me too much,” he told L’Équipe.
The Australian pointed out that the demands of preparing for a Grand Tour in the current era is such that it is becoming ever more difficult to be competitive at both the Giro and Tour.
“Today, the difference in stage races is made during the preparatory training camps,” Evans said. “You have to train hard, in a specific way and recover well. You have to target you event carefully and prepare specifically, which means spending a lot of time away from home. Doing six weeks at altitude is an advantage over those who have only done two or three weeks.”
Evans acknowledged that Bradley Wiggins and Sky brought a new level of rigour to Tour de France preparation in 2012, although he wondered whether such focus is sustainable over an extended period of time. “That year, Wiggins made a lot of sacrifices every day,” he said. “From the outside, I don’t know if you can repeat that every year.”
After taking a morale-boosting stage victory at the Tour of Alberta last week, Evans is now working towards his final objectives of the 2013 season – the world championships in Florence and the Tour of Lombardy. “Above all, I want to finish the season well,” he said. “Next year, my aim will be to get back to my old level, the one I was at up until 2012.”