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UCI grants wildcard to Australia for Olympic time trial

Cadel Evans could still ride the TT in Beijing

Cadel Evans could still ride the TT in Beijing (Image credit: AFP)

Cadel Evans may yet contest the Olympic time trial on August 13 after the UCI awarded Australia a second starting place at the event in Beijing. Cycling Australia was notified earlier this week of the offer and after discussions with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has officially accepted the position.

Evans was originally listed as Australia's lone rider for the men's time trial, but the Tour de France runner-up offered his position to three-time TT world champion Michael Rogers after suffering a knee injury during a post-Tour party.

"For the time trial there's no hiding and every day that I miss training is seconds and therefore places in the result," said Evans. "I wouldn't want to deprive Mick (Rogers) of an opportunity to do what is our best chance to get a result for the team."

But on Wednesday Evans received the call from Australian national performance director Shayne Bannan advising him the UCI was offering Australia a second starting spot for the time trial. "Shayne Bannan called me with the news and I was on the table getting treatment with my knee all bandaged up in ice and an electro-stimulator attached and he said we've got that second place," said Evans. "I looked at my swollen knee and thought 'oh good for you'.

"But let's see how it goes and first concentrate on getting my knee better and see if I'm worthy of going for the road race and seeing if I can be good enough for the road race," explained Evans. "Then beyond that - for me to go and start the time trial I'd have to have a pretty stellar ride in the road race.

"Every day I'm doing the physio and treatment on my knee and every day getting better but we'll decide on Monday morning whether I go or Adam Hansen goes in my place," said Evans who last represented Australia at an Olympic Games in 2000 when he was riding a mountain bike. "I don't want to go unless I can do a good result for myself and the team or contribute to a good result for the team so if I don't recover from my injury and am not close to my best I don't mind staying at home."

Bannan said a series of tests run on Evans indicate his knee is improving. "Treatment on Cadel's knee has been going well and we're hopeful that on Monday he'll get the all clear to fly to Beijing," said Bannan. "Considering the progress of his recovery we're optimistic that he can back up after the road race and give the time trial a decent go."