Cadel Evans (BMC) was last off in the prologue time trial at the US Pro Cycling Challenge and despite a lack of real racing since his Tour de France victory and a celebratory trip to Australia, he managed to finish a solid ninth, just eight seconds down on stage winner Patrick Gretsch (HTC-Highroad).
Evans dived through the corners and pushed hard on the pedals on the atypical course but without taking any major risk.
“It was a little bit of a tricky course because you’re starting downhill,” he said after his ride. “It wasn’t exactly my thing but it wasn’t too bad.”
In a message on his website, Evans added: “High (leg) speed, altitude acclimatization and a few risks in the corners were the ingredients for success....I was lacking a neat balance of all three.”
Evans spent several days training in Utah before the race but is concerned about racing at altitude.
“I came from Australia. I missed out on recovery and training, so it wasn’t perfect for coming here but give me a couple of days and I might be able to go all out,” he said.
The guys who rode (the Tour of) Utah have an enormous advantage. The adopting to altitude is probably the biggest thing. We’re only talking three, four percent, but we’re only going for eight or nine minutes, so two, three percent can make a difference in just the first kilometre or two."
He added on his website: “Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be interesting to say the least. Oxygen debt in 9k is one thing. Oxygen debt over 160k high up is something else.....real mountains and even MORE altitude, Christian Vande Velde and Garmin are nicely positioned. We're not doing too badly either. The other boys (BB –Brent Bookwalter, Giorgio –George Hincapie and Jeff Louder) are showing their enthusiasm to race on home soil.”