By Shane Stokes
Cadel Evans may have gone within 23 seconds of winning the Tour de France this summer, but he has said that he rates his ProTour victory higher than his runner-up slot in cycling's biggest single event. The Australian Predictor Lotto rider values his season-long consistency as his most rewarding achievement in 2007.
"For me, personally it [the ProTour victory] was better than getting second at the Tour and it's not easy to do," Evans told AFP at the weekend. "It's taken from all of the big races from February to October so it's a long time to have to be good for. In terms of races or contracts or whatever, maybe it isn't (better) but for me personally it was."
The 30 year old has shown steady improvement in his Tour record and after placing eighth, fourth and second in the past three years, he will head into the 2008 season convinced that he can stand on top of the final podium in Paris. "A little bit of luck and keep focused, keep motivated and yeah, it's possible," he said. He has also said that the Olympic Games is a target for him.
Big changes are afoot for the new season due to the introduction of additional anti-doping measures, including the recently-unveiled plan to have biological passports in place. These will keep track of a wide number of values for each rider, including blood parameters and hormonal levels. Backed by WADA, this 'forensic-style' approach to anti-doping will enable the governing body to suspend and/or sanction riders, even if there is no positive test.
Evans gives a thumbs up to the new measures. "For all the good efforts and the good work that the UCI has done, they don't always get portrayed in the media as they should do," he said.
"Sometimes it seems being honest and doing a lot of controls is actually bad for the image of a sport. I hope that people realise that to work for the long term being transparent and honest is the best way to go."