The 2015 Tour Down Under is the final stage race of Cadel Evans' (BMC Racing Team) career but the only Australian to have won the Tour de France and World Championships won't be soft-pedalling around Adelaide for the next week.
"Most races I do, I race to win and get a good result and this one is no different," Evans said at the pre-race press conference. "I am a little bit more excited that I am racing in front of a home crowd and I have to appreciate the enjoyment of racing as I won't have any opportunities after the first of February.
"I come here with a focus, as always, to perform well but also to enjoy being in the peloton, being in the race, being with my colleagues' whom some have been so for 10 to 20 years. I'll be racing with them and being competitive for the last time in a stage race and last time in a WorldTour race here from Tuesday to Sunday."
Last year Evans' attack on the Corkscrew climb saw him ride away to stage victory and into the overall race lead which he then held until the penultimate stage to Willunga Hill, conceding the jersey to Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) by one second.
On the the eve of the 2015 edition of the race, Evans explained that his level of form is at "about the same hopefully" but was wary to suggest any correlation between his condition and overall victory considering Gerrans is missing the race due to a broken collarbone.
"We'll see when we have a couple of days of hard racing and what the weather going to do, which will have an effect [on the race] and of course the level of everyone else," he said. "Every year is seems more and more riders come here from Australia and also from Europe more and more prepared. There is more depth every year to the race so even if I was as good as I was last year, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to be good enough to get the result or fight for the win like I did last year."
Ever the consummate professional, Evans explained that while is looking forward to enjoying the last few weeks of his career, he is focused on doing the best that he can.
"I am here to do a good race as always and concentrate on doing a good race," he said. "I am not going to be racing with guys from second of February onwards so I want to make an emphasis of being out there with the guys, being a professional athlete for two more weeks and enjoy it, but as the same time as a professional, get the best result I am capable of and hopefully racing for the win or a good result."
With Evans' to retire at his own Great Ocean Road Race on February 1, the 37-year-old is accepting his career is coming to a close but isn't regretting his decision to hang up the wheels
"It is one day [in the career of a] sportsperson," he said of his retirement date. "Even the young ones here will have to stop, sorry to tell you that, but at the same time I am looking forward to getting some of my life back. It's my twentieth year as a full time cyclist, which is more than half my life, so I am probably going to have to make some adjustments afterwards but at that the same time I have had a great opportunity to give everything I have to the sport.
"I have been on the mountain bike, I have been on the road so I've kind of had two careers in the sport as it was. It is already a lot more than I hoped for initially and it was going to come to an end one day and that day is coming soon."
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