Australian will assess form for Tour de France
With victories in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie already under his belt this year, Cadel Evans (BMC) can target season's primary goal with a peaceful mind: the Tour de France.
In preparation for the Tour, the 34-year-old Australian will line up Sunday to contest the Criterium du Dauphine and perhaps secure victory in a race he's finished second overall three consecutive years from 2007 to 2009.
In 2010, the BMC team leader had set his sight on a Giro and Tour double, but it proved to be too much to handle. This year, Evans opted for a lighter programme. And while Evans rejects the favourite tag for the Criterium du Dauphine, he will be the man to beat on a race that is tailor-made for him.
"Since the Tour de Romandie, I trained and rested with the Tour de France in mind because it is my big objective." he said.
"I went to a training camp at altitude and checked out a few important Tour de France stages. I will check out some others after the Criterium du Dauphine. It will be an interesting race to assess my form and that of other riders who were not on the Giro. I'm not going there with great expectations. It is a test, not an objective."
However, Evans is not a newcomer to the race and he also checked out a few important stages: Sunday's prologue in St-Jean de Maurienne (he won the Nancy prologue in 2009), Wednesday's time trial in Grenoble and the final two stages in the mountains.
"Obviously, depending on how the race goes, I could get carried away as it happened to me in the past already. I like this race and its mountains but I did not check out all the stages in detail.
"All I know is that there are several mountain top finishes, which I will probably like. The most important test for me will be the Grenoble time trial because it's the same as that on the Tour de France. This, I know! As for the rest, I can improvise, without any pressure."
That's exactly what the former world champion did at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie this year. He let others control the race and did not ask too much of his teammates before dealing a fatal blow to his rivals.
In Italy, he snatched the overall leader's jersey on the fifth day and won the stage on the sixth, on the eve of the finish. In Switzerland, he claimed the overall lead with a strong performance in the time trial, one day before the finish.
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