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Defending champions Cadel Evans looks relaxed at the 2012 Tour de France
Suspected low-grade infection to be addressed in Milan
BMC's Cadel Evans may be forced to call an early end to his season after dropping out of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. The team announced that Evans is thought to have an off-and-on low grade infection and he is set to return to Europe for testing in Milan, Italy.
"Despite his usual full commitment and attention to training, Cadel has been experiencing unusual up and downs on his performance," said team doctor Max Testa. "Getting him back to full health and to his physiological standard of performance is a priority for the BMC Racing Team. If the testing goes as expected, Evans may return for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sept. 9 in Canada."
The 2011 Tour de France champion has had a turbulent season: he came into Tirreno-Adriatico lacking the form of the previous year, and although he recovered and went on to win the Critérium International later that month, he fell ill again during the Ardennes Classics and was forced to sit out the Flèche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège.
He found some good form for the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, placing third overall, but he lacked the same fitness for the Tour de France and could not defend his title, despite the favourable parcours. He finished seventh overall.
Evans then took his place on Australia's team for the Olympic Games, but withdrew from the time trial.
His frustration at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge became apparent after he dropped out following the Golden to Boulder stage.
"I didn't know what was holding me down at the time," Evans said. "Now we have a better idea, and it's a relief to have some indicators as to why I have been under-performing.
"When you don't know why you're not performing, you have to ask a lot of questions of yourself."
"It's been disappointing for me, but I'd like to thank my teammates and people who are close to me – my family and so on – for supporting me during this frustrating period. The first thing is to get healthy and then come back to my best."