Cadel Evans displayed his usual grit and determination to take fifth in the Giro d'Italia but it just wasn't enough in his attempt to win his first grand tour, writes Mike Tomalaris.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

I'm probably not alone in the band of Cadel Evans supporters who have
been left a little frustrated and disappointed that the "little Aussie battler"
failed to make it onto the podium at the Giro d'Italia.

It goes
without saying he was brilliant in his attempt to win the Italian Grand
Tour.

I know he gave me many long sleepless nights of TV viewing
as he attempted to claw his way back to the top of the General
Classification.

From the Amsterdam start to the Verona finish and
every day in between, Cadel fought so hard. Shame it ended up being a
tough and lonely battle!

The demise and disintegration of BMC
during the three week journey obviously played a role.

Hindsight
is wonderful, but I was never confident, prior to the Giro, that Cadel's
teammates would be able to carry their Australian team captain over the
finish line.

I'm not here to bag Australia's finest cycling
product and the reigning world champion.

To the contrary, I'd
rather commend at the way he has performed and presented himself since
snaring the rainbow jersey in Mendrisio in September last year.

His
focus to racing and his hungry attitude on the roads have noticeably
changed in that time.

We've no doubt seen a different man to the
one who resorted to having personal battles with some sectors of the
international media when racing for Silence-Lotto.

If internal
problems within BMC that haven't come to light is ultimately responsible
for Cadel's inability to climb the Giro podium this year, then so be
it.

Either way, to finish fifth in the most unpredictable Giro in
decades must be commended.

But by reading some of the comments
on Cycling Central, many of Cadel's followers have expressed their
frustration that he failed to grab the Giro's pink prize.

And
while I hope that he and BMC can move on and learn from the Giro
experience, I'm wondering if a win is indeed possible at the Tour de
France.

George Hincapie will be back for a record 15th appearance
and Alessandro Ballan will probably do the job as a domestique,
but can Cadel simply rely on two old hands to do the job?

I'd
like to say "yes he can", but I'm not so sure, especially after scanning
form guide of the names on BMC roster.

Apart from Dutch hardman
Karsten Kroon and experienced German Marcus Burghardt, it's a roster
that leaves me cold.

Remember when many of us expressed our
bewilderment when the announcement of the Cadel's move to BMC was first
released in August last year?

Regrettably, Cadel doesn't make my
top five list of Tour de France predictions - I've included another
Australian, Michael Rogers, instead.

I'd like to be proven wrong
but one thing's for sure I know he'll again give it everything he's got.


Though, as he learned at the Giro, it may not be enough.