Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) is hoping that he has recovered enough from his recent Tour de France win to put forth a strong performance at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge held from 22-28 in Colorado. The Australian arrived Stateside on Sunday and watched his teammates race the final stage of the Tour of Utah, where he will acclimatise to the altitude before travelling to Colorado.
"I'm here for a few days," Evans said. "Seriously, the timing is really good and Colorado is a really beautiful place to race. We could go to the Vuelta, Colorado or Poland, I know which one I want to do, because I am here and I don't think I am the only one that feels that way. I don't know if I will be a factor in Colorado, but I'm going to take it as it comes. If I can be good that would be great but with the travel and altitude it is not exactly optimal."
Evans recently celebrated his Tour de France victory in his homeland of Australia, at an official ceremony hosted by Premier Ted Baillieu. In addition, he met with the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard prior to departing Stateside.
According to Evans, he wanted to arrive to the mountains early in order to prepare for the more than 12,000 feet of elevation at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which will host several Grand Tour contenders including Frank and Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo), among others.
"It is always nice to have a celebration, but when it is in front of thousands of people, it is really spectacular," Evans said. "The altitude is going to be hard that is why I got here as early as I could. They had to shuffle the Australian Prime Minister's schedule around just so that I could be here and have time to acclimatise.
"I am going to take [USA Pro Cycling Challenge] as it comes," he said. "I've had a lot of travel over the last few days and I just want to get on my bike and become an athlete again, that is my main thing, become an athlete again, and get some cycling legs back in hopes that I can be reasonably competitive in Colorado. What I can do in Colorado will depend on how well I recover and adapt to altitude."
Evans is no stranger to competing in the US, having raced mountain bikes in his younger career. He also competed at the inaugural Tour of California. He was hoping to participate in the Tour of Utah, however, his schedule was not permitting. He commended the event's President, Steve Miller on organizing one of the top UCI stage race in the US, alongside the Tour of California and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
"I was talking to Steve Miller and he has a really nice plan, a really professional and sustainable approach," Evans said. "I raced a lot in America as a mountain biker years ago and I understand the passion there is for cycling here. Now that there are races emerging like the Tour of California, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge, I try and support those races. I went to the first Tour of California and I'm going to the first Colorado race. If the Prime Minister was a bit freer, I might have been able to come to Tour of Utah as well."