Cadel Evans has begun his 2009 campaign with hilly terrain and slightly sore legs in the Ruta del Sol. Looking to gain some form in anticipation of the Ardennes Classics, Evans, like Davide Rebellin, Linus Gerdemann and Gilberto Simoni, is using the Vuelta a Andalucia as both a gauge of his off-season programme and preparation for the season's bigger targets.
Having re-launched his personal website, Evans spoke of the race's third stage where he took third behind the Italian pair of Rebellin and Filippo Pozzato. "The first hillier race for many in the group, so a few sore legs here today – myself included," said Evans on cadelevans.com.au.
Having been the target of speculation regarding his 2009 programme during the off-season, Evans is pleased with his progress thus far in southern Spain. "The stage? Up down, left and right... we were lucky it was dry; the roads would have been a little on the dangerous side in the wet.
"An early break of three cyclists got swallowed up 15km from the finish. Being a bit of a tough one, I tried – but failed – to put myself in a good position to sprint. I got up to third but couldn't get up to Rebellin and Pozzato, who took first and second, respectively. That's not too bad for my first outing of the season, if I say so myself.
"Tomorrow is a bit tougher again so that will be interesting. Now, I go to do something about these sore legs of mine!"
Another Australian sure to have a pair of sore legs, Mitchell Docker, is riding his first major stage race with new team Skil-Shimano. The talented Victorian signed for the Dutch outfit late last year and was sitting one place behind Evans on general classification after stage two.
Given the strength Docker has displayed thus far in his career, he may be another Australian aiming to make his mark in the Belgian Classics in two months' time.(LC)