By Gennie Sheer
After finishing fifth in the elite men's road race at the 2007 UCI Road World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, Tour de France runner up Cadel Evans will now set his sights back on the ProTour.
Evans came to the World Championships a week after finishing fourth overall in the Tour of Spain, and his next focus is the Tour of Lombardy, set for October 20. He is currently only 15 points off the ProTour Series lead and a finish of sixth or better in Lombardy would see him claim the series for 2007.
"I think I've done six or seven ProTour races for GC (overall placing) this year and my worst was tenth so I'm pretty tired now," said Evans. "I haven't had time to comprehend it yet but for me to be there today [at Worlds on Sunday] playing for the win was good.
"Lombardy is one of the best one day races of the year for me, it's my wife's (Chiara) home race and as I'm second in the ProTour rankings I'm obligated to go there," he laughed. "I'll have a bit of a rest and do what I can. I'm running on empty to be honest but I'll see what I can do."
Evans was happy with his race in Stuttgart and optimistic for Australia's cycling future.
"We went into the race with two leaders, me and Alby (Allan Davis) and as the race turned out, I was the leader there when that group went away," explained Evans who realised that with Bettini, a noted sprinter, in the group, he had to act before the finish line was in sight. "I had to go earlier and I gave everything with one kilometre to go but they closed me in and that was really my chance for a medal.
"That (effort) stuffed me for the finish and then I was too tired to do a good sprint."
"Overall it's the best I've ever seen our team ride at the worlds," said Evans. "I didn't race Zolder (2002) where Robbie (McEwen) was second but since then, it's the best I've seen us ride.
"There was a group away at the start which was risky but we sat calm and saved it for when it mattered and as a team we can be really proud of what we did," said Evans. "I was especially impressed with the younger riders on the team who rode far beyond what was expected of them.
"Me at 30 (years of age) I'm the oldest here so the future looks really promising for Australia," said Evans. "I think the best is yet to come."
Cycling Australia Professional Rider Liaison, Neil Stephens, agreed. "The thing that really helped us today was some of our younger riders who were going to do the early work really excelled which meant we had a lot stronger team later in the race," said Stephens. "We didn't have to pull out the big guns till late in the race which helped us overall and meant we were up there with a chance of a medal.
"You can't be disappointed because we were there right to the finishing line and everybody gave their best," finished Stephens.