The extent of Cadel Evans' knee injury has only been revealed after the Olympic time trial on August 13, where the Australian finished in fifth place. Evans, who fell to the ground on the slippery floor a post-Tour de France party, actually ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and spent several days on crutches in the lead-up to the Games.
The Silence-Lotto rider thought that his injury seriously interfered with his build-up to the event. "It was a week of training which otherwise I would have been training specifically for the time trial, and certainly caused me a bit of worry as well," he told ABC News. "Instead of putting all my energy into training specifically, my wife was taxying me around from physio to doctor etcetera to get back."
He also thought that the injury may have cost him a medal-winning performance. "12 seconds off a medal over 45 kilometres, you know, possibly yes."
Still, considering his misfortunes lately, he wasn't disappointed with the final result. "To be here and vying for the medals is not a bad effort," Evans told Fox Sports. "With everything that's gone on in the last three months with the tendonitis, the huge crash in the Tour [de France], defending the yellow with only one leg. Then breaking my anterior cruciate ligament, I was on crutches for three or four days after the Tour and not riding."
Evans thought he would not be able to compete in Beijing, but his doctor re-assured him. "Going from a cripple to an Olympic athlete in four days is not that long. The doctor I was seeing said one or two days before the race you won't even know you had the injury. He was pretty right. He gave me a lot of hope. He had a skier in once who did exactly the same injury and two weeks to the day later he won the downhill world championships, so that gave me a lot of hope."
Evans will not require surgery for his snapped ACL, even though footballers with the same injury immediately have reconstructions and are out for 6-12 months. "For a cyclist [knee surgery] is not necessary, but I won't be playing soccer for a few years," he said.