Former world champion and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans will focus his 2014 season entirely on the Giro d'Italia, having come to grips with the BMC team's decision to focus its Tour de France roster on younger riders like Tejay van Garderen, but is still deciding whether he will start his season at the Tour Down Under.
Evans raced the Tour Down Under last in 2010, the year he took fifth overall in the Giro d'Italia, and seemed to be leaning toward starting his season on home soil. "There's a chance. It's about being at my best for the Giro. The Tour Down Under worked for me in 2010 but I can't confirm or deny [my participation], expect us to decide within the next few days," Evans said at the team's presentation.
The Australian has struggled over the past two seasons with a virus, which has hampered his ability to be consistent throughout the season. He called his 2013 season "a disappointment" even though he finished third overall at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Oman, and won a stage at the new Tour of Alberta.
"The Giro was good, but the Tour was bad. I had one victory overall, was low in the classification and points ranking [of the Giro]. It's disappointing, but it motivates me to work hard. When you're used to winning more, you expect more."
Evans all but confirmed that this year's Tour de France is now his last one, saying that it would be extremely unlikely he would race it again now that his team has decided to have him focus on the Giro instead.
"Initially it was disappointing to not be doing the Tour. Realistically this year is going to be my last Tour de France and I didn't want to leave it in such a bad state. I would have liked to have gone back and given it one more shot and done a good result. That was disappointing for me personally, initially, to not be doing the Tour. but after getting over the initial disappointment, the Giro is a race that I love, it's the race I started the Grand Tours in, and it's a race I want to do and a different challenge, which is refreshing in a lot of ways. I've committed 10 years of my life to the Tour de France, to commit one year or a few months to something else is refreshing."
Evans also hinted that he would return to the new races in the USA and Canada, which he participated in this season and enjoyed. "I like to support some of the newer, emerging races that have the potential to be a big part of cycling," he said.
Look to see Evans in the Giro del Trentino, rather than the Ardennes Classics, as he focuses his training and racing around building up for what is likely to be his sole Grand Tour of the year.
"It's not that I don't want to [race the Ardennes Classics], but leading to the Giro at the same time... I'll be gearing everything toward that, so most likely Trentino for the training benefits, and looking toward the Giro."
Evans said he is hopeful that he can improve upon this year's third place finish in the Giro. "I wasn't too far off second, so I'd like to improve upon that."