"'He does not give a show, he does not attack,' whoever says this does not understand anything about cycling," said Cadel Evans after winning the 8th Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. The 31 year-old Australian of Silence-Lotto, second in the 2007 Tour de France, conquered the Italian five-day race on stage three with his efforts on the Scandiano to Pavullo.
"2008 could be my year," he continued in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. Over the winter, the Belgian team signed Yaroslav Popovych to add to Evan's key domestiques of Dario Cioni and Mario Aerts, and this could help turn his placings in to spectacular wins. Last year, in addition to second in the Tour, he placed fourth in the Vuelta a España, fifth at the World Championships and first in the ProTour rankings.
"In the past I have been beaten by cheats. Landis, Vinokourov... I know that it could happen again, but I will never search for a short cut." Evans has been edging closer and closer to the top step of the Paris podium: eighth in 2005, fourth in 2006 and 23 seconds back on Alberto Contador in 2007.
Even if he does not take the overall win this year the Australian who got his start in 2001 with Saeco and Mapei reckons that he has a few more years to take the Tour's maillot jaune. "I am 31 years old and I can do at least four or five more Tours at the top level. I want to win at least one."
His 2008 palmarès indicate he is on the right track: a stage win in the Ruta del Sol and a stage and overall in Coppi e Bartali. "Everything I am doing is considered training," he continued of his Tour objective. "In May I will back off: no Giro. In June I will do the Dauphiné Libéré. Then the two season targets: the Tour in July and the Olympics in August. The Worlds will be in September, but I am also able to wait because the next three Worlds will be run on home roads: 2008 in Varese, 2009 in Mendrisio and 2010 in Australia. I already have seven world medals, but not one gold." Evans is married to an Italian from Varese, Chiara, and the couple live in Stabio (Ticino), Switzerland.