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Evans makes Euro debut on home roads in Switzerland

Cadel Evans begins his European road season at the GP Insubria on Saturday, just a few kilometres from his home in Switzerland and close to where he won the rainbow jersey in Mendrisio last September.

Evans is the leader of BMC Racing Team in the race and lives so close to the start that he could ride there.

"I actually rode to the hotel where we're staying to collect my new race bike," Evans happily told Cyclingnews.

"It's nice to be able race here in front of friends and family near my home away from home in Switzerland. The route of the race doesn't really suit me but I don't often get the chance to race in the Ticino area. It's actually the first time I've raced here since I walked off the podium in the rainbow jersey."

Evans will line up with Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Diomo), who makes his season debut in the race and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) who has recovered from his crash in the Ruta Del Sol. Favourite for victory is recent Trofeo Laigueglia winner Francesco Ginanni (Androni Giocattoli), who won the GP Insubria last year. Evans and most of the riders in Saturday's race will also ride the nearby GP Lugano on Sunday.

Happy with training and team

Evans made his season debut at the Tour Down Under in Australia. He then headed to California for a BMC training camp and returned to Switzerland just in time for his 33rd birthday on St Valentine's Day.

He will target overall victory in both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France this year but also faces the challenge of riding for a new team. 2010 will be a season of changes and new experiences but so far, Evans is happy with his form and with his decision to join BMC.

"There's been a lot of changes for me in recent months but they've all been good, Evans told Cyclingnews.

"I'm very happy with the way things are going at BMC. Not just with the team but with the whole BMC project.

"My training is coming along too. It's not great but it's not bad considering my first big goal is the Giro d'Italia. The recent test I did with my coach Aldo Sassi showed I'm about at the same level as where I was last year. At the moment I'm taking each race as it comes but I hope to be going better at Tirreno-Adriatico. It's a pity there's no time trial because it would have been a good test for the Giro but I hope to ride well in the two hilly stages at Tirreno."

Evans confirmed he will not go on to ride Milan-San Remo but will test his bike skills at the Strade Bianche race on the Eroica dirt roads of Tuscany before Tirreno-Adriatico.

"It covers some of the dirt sections that will be used in the stage at the Giro and so it'll be good to see it. In theory I should be okay on the dirt roads but we'll see what it's like."

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.