Cadel Evans has revealed to Gazzetta dello Sport that he will ride the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France this summer as he looks to get back to his best after a virus wrecked his hopes of a second Tour de France victory in 2012.
Evans will take on 2012 Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at this year's corsa rosa, which begins in Naples on May 4.
"I'm going to ride the Giro. And I want to make it clear, I won’t be riding it for training but to get back to my best level," Evans told Gazzetta dello Sport during an interview at his home in Stabbio, in the Italian speaking part of southern Switzerland.
"BMC suggested doing it. My 2012 season ended with the disappointment of seventh in the Tour de France. The idea was to add an important race like the Giro to my programme. I thought about it and said yes. Getting some extra race days in my legs won't do me an harm at all."
Evans confirmed that he will ride the Giro and the Tour this season, riding the Giro del Trentino and Liège-Bastogne-Liège along the way.
"I'll do the Giro and the Tour. I'm going to do a training camp now, then I'll ride the Giro del Trentino, probably Liège-Bastogne-Liège and hope to be ready for the start (of the Giro) in Naples," he said.
Maglia Rosa memories
Evans last rode the Giro d'Italia in 2010, finishing fifth behind Ivan Basso, his ride affected by illness picked up during several rain-soaked stages. He won the now-legendary stage on the Tuscan dirt road to Montalcino in the rain and wore the pink jersey for a day in the first week.
He also wore the iconic jersey for a day back in 2002, early in his road racing career, but lost it after cracking in the mountains on a tough stage to Folgaria. Paolo Savoldelli snatched the jersey and went on to win the Giro.
Evans has already begun to study the route of the 2013 Giro d'Italia, which is now just over a month away.
"It seems to be a more balanced route than three years ago. The stages in the south won't be easy, while the 55km time trial seems made for Wiggins, even if it seems it's not totally flat. I know the Galibier well but not some of the other mountains," he said.
"I won’t be at the Giro just for training. I want to get back to my very best. I know a lot of people are skeptical because I'm 36 years old but that doesn’t bother me. I can't pretend I'm the favourite, that role is being shared by Wiggins and Nibali. I hope to be a good outsider, an underdog."
Much like that of his BMC teammates, Evans' form has been erratic so far this season. He finished third overall at the Tour of Oman but struggled at Tirreno-Adriatico. He took on a domestique role at Criterium International, working for younger teammate Tejay van Garderen.
"In Oman I went pretty well, but at Tirreno-Adriatico and at Criterium International, things didn’t go well, even if I wouldn't have been up there with the best," he admitted to Gazetta.
"I'm not too worried. When I won Tirreno (in 2011) the route was very different. Doing a long climb to Prati di Tivo in March changes things a lot. I have to be ready later on and I've no doubt that I will be."