In spite of a fine season in the rainbow jersey, Cadel Evans (BMC) has admitted that he was disappointed not to win more during his reign as world champion. Consequently, the Australian lines up for the final classic of the year, Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy, with his eyes firmly trained on victory.
“This season I’ve enjoyed myself and I’ve shown off the jersey, but I won less than I would have liked,” Evans told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “This is the last chance and you can be sure I’ll go for it. The Tour of Lombardy is my favourite classic.”
Evans took the world title in Mendrisio last year and his rainbow jersey was prominent at the head of the peloton through much of the season. Highlights of the Australian’s year included victory at the Flèche Wallone, a thrilling stage win at the Giro d’Italia and a courageous performance at the Tour de France, where he rode with a fractured elbow for almost two weeks. His spell as world champion finished with a resolute defence of the title on home roads in Geelong.
“I’d gladly still be wearing that jersey, but the route didn’t suit me,” Evans said. “That said, I’m benefiting from it in terms of tranquillity: now my life is a bit more relaxed and I’m happy to have passed the torch on to a good guy like Thor Hushovd.”
As well as racing in the colours of world champion, 2010 also saw Evans ride under the banner of a new squad and he is pleased with how his first year at BMC has gone. He surprised many by leaving Silence-Lotto for the team last winter but Evans has no regrets about making the move.
“When I signed for BMC, a lot of people were looking at me funny,” he admitted. “But the team is growing and is also looking ahead to the future, as the signing of Taylor Phinney demonstrates.”
For now, however, Evans and BMC’s major objective is to tackle the Tour of Lombardy and the Australian reckons that the new course is set to guarantee an entertaining race.
“With the new route, the Ghisallo could be less important than the Colma di Sormano, but I don’t really know who that will favour, we’ll have to see,” Evans said. “Certainly, I’ve tried it and I can guarantee you from the point of view of the landscape it’s much more spectacular. Either way, Gilbert is the favourite.”
Evans also admitted that he has a back-up plan to ensure that his season ends on a high note, even if the altered route around Lake Como does not prove to his liking. “My wife Chiara, my family and friends will be on the Ghisallo having a barbeque. If I’m not feeling the best, I’ll stop there and eat with them.”
Meanwhile, Evans refused to be drawn on commenting on the Alberto Contador affair but expressed his annoyance at Italian anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri's recent assertions on the widespread nature of doping: “On Contador, I’d need to wait before forming an opinion. As for Torri, to say that all cyclists are doped is simply an insult.”