Has anyone given much thought to what might happen if, by some twist of fate, Cadel Evans wins Sunday's world championship road race? Because according to Anthony Tan, the situation isn't entirely impossible.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

There was one rather significant omission in Friday's news story that confirmed widespread speculation Cadel Evans would retire at his eponymous bike race on February 1 next year, 13 days before celebrating his 38th birthday.

It came from a press release I received from his BMC Racing Team in the early hours of Friday morning, headlined 'Evans's Future Includes BMC Ambassador Role'.

"I feel it is the right time to end my journey in competitive professional cycling," Evans said.

"It has been the journey of more than a lifetime, something I could never have envisioned when first experiencing the joy of riding a bike on the dirt roads of Bamylli (Barunga) in the Northern Territory. It is amazing how far two wheels can take a person."

All standard stuff from a groundbreaking Australian iconoclast calling it day on a professional cycling career that has so far spanned 16 years and two vastly different disciplines.

It was followed by sentiments from BMC Racing Team co-owner and team manager Jim Ochowicz; the man who, five years ago, somehow persuaded Evans to take a punt and join what was then a fledgling Pro Continental team after he won the road world championships in Mendrisio.

"It is going to be a big change for us not to have Cadel racing with the team after his last race in Australia next year," Ochowicz said. "We will miss his leadership and the high level experience and performance he brought to the BMC Racing Team."

Then came this...

'Ochowicz said a victory by Evans in Sunday's world championship road race might change the plans (for retirement next February)', read the statement.

'"I hope he wins," Ochowicz said. "Of course, if he does, we will have to have another discussion on what the future looks like. Certainly, being world champion does have some issues that need to be discussed. But it is a good problem to have."'

Is it so far fetched an idea that Evans might win Sunday's 254.8km jaunt around Ponferrada?

Aged 32, his season leading into the 2009 Worlds included 28th place overall at the Tour de France and a third place finish at the Vuelta a España. Before the Worlds his only wins were a stage at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in March and the opening stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, a month prior to the Tour.

Now aged 37, his season leading into this year's road worlds includes back-to-back stage wins at the Tour of Utah and 52nd overall at the Vuelta. Other victories this year were Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under, and two stages and the overall at the Giro del Trentino.

Like 2009, he has also ridden two Grand Tours this season, admitting his eighth place overall at the Giro d'Italia was the final straw that convinced him the time was right. "I was not close enough to the level I wanted to be at or the level the team hoped I would be at," said Evans, "and that also shows that at least in the three-week races, the chances of winning another Grand Tour is probably past me."

Notwithstanding two not entirely dissimilar years, and two not entirely dissimilar worlds courses.

As I wrote in a blog one week ago, 'Should Cadel Stop?', I agree that his days riding for GC at Grand Tours is over. But as far as other events are concerned, if the will is still there, which I'm not sure it is, I reckon Evans still has what it takes to win one-day races and week-long stage races - and that includes this weekend's elite men's road world championship.

The bookies have Simon Gerrans, his team-mate for Sunday, as outright favourite, paying $4.50 for the win. Yet some pundits are now saying he's too hot to win; his ability to become 'The Sniper' will be nullified as a result of being the most heavily-marked man in the peloton, so they say.

Evans, by contrast, will pay $67.00 for every dollar invested, should he win. Not too different to his odds before Mendrisio, from memory...

Regardless, and as Rory Sutherland says, the road worlds is in a class of its own in terms of its unpredictability.

"The world championship has its own special nature and dynamics. Our team-mates are suddenly our rivals and we find ourselves racing on a completely new team. It's naturally a great honor to race together with our countrymen but that is what makes the world championship so unpredictable," Sutherland said.

"Which teams take responsibility, who does what? All the questions, which are more easily answered in a normal race, are suddenly unclear to everybody."

Where do you think Evans will finish Sunday, and if he does win, do you think he should retire as planned, or keep pushing on?

Closest guess receives a honorary mention in next week's Cycling Central podcast!