Cadel Evans' knee problems are more serious than first reported and he will therefore have to sit out the Vuelta a España and probably the rest of the season, Team Silence-Lotto announced Wednesday evening.
Team doctor Daniel De Neve spoke with the Italian doctor handling Evans and reported that the lesions are more serious than first thought. Surgery is not being considered at this time, but healing and rehabilitation will take six to eight weeks "so Cadel's return to top-level competition this year might be impossible," the team said.
After the Olympic time trial in which the Australian finished fifth, it was disclosed that he had suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He injured himself when he was celebrating his second-place finish in the Tour de France, an injury which at first was denied.
Evans is the second high-profiled rider to not start the Spanish Grand Tour, after Denis Menchov decided to skip the race. This will make it even more likely that the winner will come from the host nation of Spain. Three of the five riders who formed part of the successful Spanish Olympic road team. Alberto Contador (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Carlos Sastre (Team CSC-Saxo Bank) have all good chances of taking out the overall win.
Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) will ride the Tour of Poland in order to prepare for the World Championships in Varese.(SW)