One of Australia's top cyclists, Cadel Evans, is a last minute inclusion in the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic. The reining Commonwealth Games time trial champion and runner up in the road race will lead the young UNO Clothing team.
"I felt I needed a bit of racing to get me ready for the National title and the Tour Down Under," Evans said. "I always enjoy myself at the Bay series and it is a great event to get yourself some good form. The criteriums are as fast as any race I have ridden anywhere in the world and it will be a perfect top up to the long rides I am presently doing. Plus it will be good to catch up with my new teammates."
Evans has recently signed up with Belgian ProTour team Davitamon-Lotto, alongside fellow Aussies Robbie McEwen, Nick Gates and Henk Vogels. With former top-line pro Allan Peiper taking a job as Sports Director, it has become a decidedly Australian affair.
Evans had a topsy turvy year in 2004. After a disastrous 2003 where he broke his collarbone an incredible three times, Evans started to show glimpses of the form that had many picking him for a podium finish in the Tour de France.
After winning the Tour of Austria for a second time, Evans was surprisingly left out of the T-Mobile team for the Tour de France. Then in a double blow he was not selected in the Australian team for Athens. Although Evans prefers not to discuss the setback, many find it hard to believe he didn't warrant selection for either event.
"That is water under bridge now and I just want to concentrate on the year ahead," Evans said.
There won't be any doubts about Evans riding his first Tour de France in 2005. Although his new team will be very focused on Robbie McEwen defending his green jersey and getting him to the front in the hectic stage finishes, the team has picked Cadel to be their number one rider for the overall classification.
Race website: www.jaycobayclassic.com.au