Cadel Evans has remembered his long-time coach and friend Aldo Sassi, who passed away mid-December. The Italian cycling expert, a renowned anti-doping advocate, lost the fight against brain cancer. Evans, who worked with Sassi since 2002, has now honoured his former coach.
"An incredible knowledge of nutrition, physiology and cycling in general," the Australian former World champion said about Sassi on his personal homepage. "In 25 years of working with riders from Francesco Moser, the entire Mapei team to the present day's World Championship and Grand Tour winning group, he had learned a lot. His capacity of predicting performance in cyclists particularly - in any race - was remarkable."
Evans admitted it hasn't been easy to deal with the loss. "To see someone's health go downhill so quickly is one thing, to see a man of amazing character and intelligence be brought down is something else again. I can only hope now that his family can recover from their suffering, and Aldo can rest in peace," he commented.
"Even in rest, I would not be surprised if he still watching over us calculating climber's outputs, Vo2max results, and insisting I need even greater volumes of threshold work. I am very grateful to have been able to work with Aldo, but more so, for his contributions, along with the Mapei company to the clean side of cycling, and all of those who believe in it. There are only very few people who realise just how much he did for his quest to win the big races drug free."
Evans is now looking to the upcoming season and preparing his next charge on the Spring Classics and the Tour de France, which did not go to plan last year. Albeit highly motivated to perform better in 2011, the BMC leader also admitted that his "average" results of last season led to a quieter off-season, which he has enjoyed.
"I have a more traditional start to the season than in past years," he said. "Actually having time to get ready for the season is something I am happily getting used to. The past years have often seemed to begin before the last season has been rested out of the legs and head. So it will be interesting to see how things fair up for me come the more important time of a seemingly ever-lengthening season."
Welcoming his new team-mates Ivan Santoromita, Manuel Quinziato, Amael Moinard, Greg Van Avermaet and Tim Roe, Evans looked forward to racing with all of them. "I have been watching the results of the others at TDU, while training away at our first BMC training camp for 2011. The new guys all seem very happy to be here chez BMC, as are the 'old' guys. I will of course be interested to hear from the Tour Down Under participants when they arrive here with us in a few days. Until then, we'll just keep working away at it..."