Aussie intrigued by unique course in home country
The 2009 world championship road race is still to be decided, but Cadel Evans, who is set to be in contention for Sunday's title, spent Thursday evening looking forward to next year's championship in his native Australia.
It will be the first time the championships have been held Down Under, and Evans was joined at a preview function in Mendrisio by officials from Cycling Australia, politicians from host cities Melbourne and Geelong, and Pat McQuaid, the UCI president.
Another first will be that the road race will start and finish in different cities, rolling out from Melbourne and heading to Geelong, where the other world championship events will be held, and where the men's road race will conclude on a traditional circuit.
Fresh from a six-hour training ride, Evans said, "I live 5km from Mendrisio for nine months of the year, and I live 20km from next year's course the other three months. I'll be honest, this year's course suits me a lot better, but the Vuelta [which finished last weekend], and finishing on the podium, is a good lead-in to it.
"To race in Australia next year will be a great opportunity for Australian fans to see one of the best one-day races of the year right at home," continued Evans. "It's going to be a bit different. Having that section at the start, leading to the circuit, it's the first time it's ever happened at the world championships - it's more like the Olympics. The small circuit is the one that interests me most, but I'm expecting a group of fifty to contest the finish."
It is unlikely, as Evans acknowledged, that he will emerge at the head of that fifty-man group to claim the rainbow jersey. But Sunday's mountainous circuit in Mendrisio, Switzerland could be a different matter. Asked if he could win the world title, he said, "I'm not going to say I can't."
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