Cadel Evans leads Tirreno-Adriatico by only a handful of seconds, but hopes to carry that lead over the next few days. The closing time trial on Tuesday will be tricky one, he said, but he is confident that he can hold on the leader's blue jersey until the end.
The BMC leader finished twelfth on Sunday, two seconds down, to move up one spot to the overall lead. Going into the stage, he had “vague hopes” of taking the lead. “I thought it was going to rely a bit more on luck actually, but the race ended up being a bit harder than I had anticipated,” he said in a team video. “It was an aggressive race, especially in the last 40 to 50 km, and the course in the end was really tough.”
The former World Champion thanked his team for its support, calling the lead, “a pat on the back for all of us, for the whole team, for the work we did in the winter. I am riding a little bit better than I expected, but worked pretty hard this week for this race as I usually do, and the team's really riding really, really well.”
Monday's stage six is, “going to be another hard day” with a difficult closing circuit.” It is not the same circuit as in the previous year. “It's going to be a harder final circuit that we do, but I think it's going to be a bit easier to control as a team, assuming all goes well, of course, and in some ways it might be a little bit better for me.”
The main thing he will have to watch out for in the stage is the bonus seconds. The Australian leads by only two seconds over Ivan Basso (Liquigas), with Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Michele Scarponi (Lampre) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) all only three to five seconds behind. “It is really close. Tomorrow there are bonus seconds, and things are so close that the bonus seconds are going to be important.”
The race ends Tuesday with a totally flat 9.3km time trial on the Adriatic coast. “It's the first time trial I do this year,” he noted. “After five days racing, three of them really hard, then to do a short time trial is actually quite difficult to manage. In a short time trial if you do something wrong, you don't have the time to make good and make it up in the end, so that will be tricky and interesting.”