Today is another crucial Vuelta a España stage for the Silence-Lotto leader Cadel Evans, who will start the stage just seven seconds behind race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). A strong performance over the next three days would boost his campaign to win his first Grand Tour.
"I feel pretty good," he told Cyclingnews at the start this morning. "We will see when we get there, and we will see who is good. It is the first of three hard days."
Evans will at the very least hope to limit any gains by his rivals but, if he is able he will try to attack himself.
Apart from Valverde, who is going well, Evans is keeping his eye on another Spanish rider. "I think Sam Sánchez is going to come up on what we saw in the first week... he is going to be a dangerous one."
Evans' teammate Matthew Lloyd anticipates a big battle today and on the following two stages. "It is going to be large," he said. "Cadel is strong enough to win the race, but how the next three days unfold is going to be the deciding factor.
"He is motivated, especially after the Tour de France. He wants to get something back. I will try to put him in a place to do it and see what he can come up with."
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Lloyd had a bad crash in the Amstel Gold Race in April, but returned to ride the Tour de France. He is continuing to build his condition.
"It takes a long time to get perfect form back. The Tour was pretty good – I wasn't expecting anything special, but the Vuelta has been pretty nice."
He added that he hopes to ride the Worlds after the Vuelta a España.