Triumphant Evans set to tackle Contador

Posted on: February 3rd, 2019 by
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The Australian cycling star rocketed to equal top on the world rankings when he held off his rivals in the closing 9.


3km time trial to win the seven-day race across Italy (Wednesday AEDT).

Evans had only raced for two days before the Tirreno-Adriatico but won with a combination of strong and intelligent racing, backed up by a solid BMC team featuring Alessandro Ballan and an on-form George Hincapie.

The two-time Tour de France runner-up and 2009 world road champion will next test his promising form in the seven-day Tour of Catalonia, starting on Monday.

There he’ll face Tour de France rivals Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Van de Velde and Carlos Sastre as they all gear towards the year’s biggest race in July.

“My focus remains on the Tour de France, but I always prefer to have some results beforehand,” Evans said.

Evans’ new-look campaign will face a stiffer test as he meets the likes of Spaniards Contador and Sastre on their home soil.

“A different style of race there, on longer climbs against a

field of climbers,” said Evans.

“We’ll see …I am not quite there yet on the really long passes like we will face in Andorra, but I won’t be bad.”

Contador, who beat Evans by just 23 seconds to win his first Tour title in 2007, is racing again after the Spanish cycling federation overturned his doping suspension.

But that saga is nowhere near over, with cycling’s world governing body the UCI expecting to appeal the verdict.

Evans now shares the lead in the world road rankings with German Tony Martin, who won the Paris-Nice stage race last week.

“It’s still early, though – let’s have a look at the rankings again in August or September,” Evans said.

The win represents a major early-season prize for BMC and takes pressure off Evans and his team-mates for results in the looming spring classics and then the lead-up to the Tour.

Swiss time trial ace Fabian Cancellara predictably won the final day time trial stage around San Benedetto del Tronto in 10 minutes and 33 seconds, but it was Dutch rider Robert Gesink who was the bigger concern for Evans.

The Australian went in as the overall leader, meaning he was the last rider to start.

Gesink’s time of 11 minutes meant he became the virtual leader.Evans took a few risks on corners and struggled to find his rhythm early, but powered home to clock 11:04.

That left him in 12th place for the stage, but more importantly it put him 11 seconds ahead of Gesink on the final placings.

Evans again paid tribute to his long-time Italian coach Aldo Sassi, a highly-respected figure in the sport who died of cancer last December.

“I worked very hard this winter, training alone for hours,” Evans said.

“Every day I rode my bike I was thinking about Aldo Sassi, just like today.”

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