Tour de France hope springs eternal for Cadel Evans with the 2010 World
number one once again insisting he has a good shot at taking out the big one -
Call it a hunch, a feeling,, or maybe I'm just a
cockeyed optimist, but somehow this season seems to be breaking just a
little bit differently for the Australian with some of the serious
contenders looking less than solid as the season has progressed.
get me wrong, I also see riders like Andy Schleck, Robert Gesink and
Ivan Basso as likely podium finishers and of course it would be hard to
bet against Alberto Contador should he dodge the anti-doping bullets
fired at him by WADA and the UCI.
But in an interview with L'Equipe
it's clear Evans is motivated and confident despite his many detractors
and he is unperturbed about the Spaniard's predicament.
race looks the same with or without Alberto Contador," said Evans. But I
am mentally prepared to deal with any situation.
given up on winning the Tour. I still believe in it, but perhaps the
rest of the world doesn't. I just need a little bit of the luck that was
missing in 2008 and last year."
Like most keen watchers of the
sport I've been closely motoring the season long progressions of many of
the key riders. A number have posted promising results but no one rider
appears dominant outside of the doubtful Contador, who is impressive every time he
takes the start line. There appears to be more balance in the peloton so I like the way things are shaping up for Evans.
of course we've seen a different kind of Evans over the past two
seasons, one who has shrugged off a perceived reticence to take a race
by the throat - a reticence he denied.
"One day, someone says in a
newspaper you're a loser, a rider who is always on the defensive, and
this view gains weight in an irrational way," he again said to L'Equipe.
People see what they want to see. The view that I am not aggressive
changed with the yellow jersey. But I always knew the kind of rider I
am. The rainbow jersey definitely proves it."
Indeed it did.
There is a sharper edge to Evans today, that maybe in our haste to
criticise, we didn't notice in 2007 and 2008.
While Evans has a
Tour focused season planned it didn't stop him from dominating at the
Tirenno-Adriatico, his one serious hit-out so far this season, where he
took the win.
After a precautionary rest to ease an issue with
his knee, he's currently in the top-ten at the Tour of Romandie. He's
clearly fit and all that remains is the fine tuning required to deliver
win a tour.
I've also been heartened by the performance of his
BMC team to date. They look a lot better than they did last year. More
organised and prepared to take charge at the front of a race.
will arrive at the start line a highly experienced Grand Tour
Contender, he's been there and done that. And with a solid BMC team
behind him he's looking better every day.
Here's hoping 2011 is
like 2008 when Evans was on song and at the top of his game - but this
time with a happier ending.
Follow Phil on Twitter @Lycra_Lout