Evans and Rodriguez will duel again in season finale
After fighting it out for the medals in Sunday's world championship road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland, Cadel Evans and Joaquin Rodriguez will resume their battle in the Giro di Lombardia in Italy on October 17.
While the world title went to Evans, Rodriguez is confident of a good showing and aims to carry the momentum of finishing third in Mendrisio through to the season's finale.
"I've begun every day 'on the bike' because I have a month full of races and don't want to lose the form I have in order to see if I can still give some joy to the fans and my team in the latter [season] events," he told Europa Press.
His focus on events later in the season stems from a poor start to 2009, which included abandoning the Giro d'Italia. He summed up his season as "not bad", but admitted, "I changed things in the Giro because of an injury which forced me to abandon and I messed up my plans a little."
Meanwhile, Evans will go into the 'Race of the falling leaves' full of confidence. He finished sixth in the 2007 edition whilst wearing the ProTour leader's jersey and this year he will compete in the rainbow jersey after securing the world title.
The Australian followed Rodriguez's late-race move on Sunday before attacking hard on the climb of Novazzano and soloing to the win. While the Spaniard said he was happy with the bronze medal, he makes no secrets that a win in Lombardia would be perfect.
The Caisse d'Epargne rider, who will move to Russian squad Katusha at the end of this season, will be honoured today in his hometown of Parets del Vallès following his podium place at the world championships.
He's adamant that it shouldn't distract him from the task at hand: five late-season races, including Paris-Bourges, Paris-Tours, Giro del Piemonte, Giro di Lombardia and the Japan Cup.