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Stephens denies Evans was isolated in Aussie team

Australians Simon Gerrans and Cadel Evans, l-r

Australians Simon Gerrans and Cadel Evans, l-r (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Australia's team director at the World Championships, Neil Stephens, has denied a report that has appeared on several websites claiming that the members of the Australian team voted by eight votes to one to support Simon Gerrans rather than Cadel Evans in last Sunday's road race. According to a story in Het Nieuwsblad and picked up by websites in Denmark and Italy, the only vote that Evans got was his own.

Stephens firmly denied this had happened, but admitted he could understand why it might be thought the team would be fully behind Gerrans given the success the Cervélo TestTeam rider has enjoyed this year. He insisted Evans, who won the World Championship race, had always played a key role in the team's plans for Sunday.

"We had to set out to deal with a number of different strategies. If it had been a bunch kick we'd have been looking to Allan Davis," said Stephens. "It could have been down to Stuart O'Grady, as he was given the job of covering the breaks.

"You can't go into a race like that looking for just one guy. You have to have a range of strategies. We knew that it would be a tough race and that would suit Cadel. But each guy had an opportunity to go for themselves given the right situation. And they all agreed that if the situation didn't open up for them, then they would all be team workers for whoever was the strongest contender."

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).