Cadel can defend Tour title: Anderson
Australian cycling great Phil Anderson says a lighter preparation will give Cadel Evans the vital edge over main rival Bradley Wiggins in his bid to go back-to-back at this year’s Tour de France.
Anderson, the first non-European to wear the Tour’s famous yellow jersey, believes defending champion Evans should be more relaxed this time around for the epic three-week race which starts on June 30.
Evans had somewhat of a disrupted spring where he didn’t race as much as he would have liked.
But 54-year-old Anderson is confident Evans’ reduced workload this year will be a blessing in disguise, and suspects British favourite Wiggins will suffer when it comes to the crunch in the final week.
“Every year his program is getting lighter and lighter which is good because he’s not getting younger, so it works for him,” Anderson told AAP at a promotional event in Sydney for Le Coq Sportif, official sponsors of the Tour de France leader’s jersey.
“The tour goes for three weeks, you want to be good in that last week.
“The other main favourite (Wiggins), he’s been going really well but for me, by the time it gets to the last week I don’t know if Wiggins will be able to sustain the pressure for the entirety.
“Cadel is my favourite.”
Anderson, who twice finished fifth in the race in the 1980s, said Evans had every reason to feel confident, but would be aware of how quickly things can go wrong.
“Now with a win behind him everyone is hoping Cadel will be more relaxed than he’s been in the past … knowing himself that he can manage that, will be all the better for him,” Anderson said.
“In a blink of an eye there can be a huge crash and you can be out of the race. That’s what happened to Wiggins last year.
“But if you weave your way through the carnage and make it through to the third week in a time trial in the mountains, that’s what it’s going to come down to.”
There is speculation Wiggins’ star Team Sky teammate Mark Cavendish might pull out of the tour early to preserve his Olympic hopes in London.
However, if Cavendish does compete for the duration of the tour, Anderson can see another benefit for Evans.
“They’ll possibly want to keep one or two guys fresh for the lead-outs for him so that takes a bit of strength away from the team … it could be a bit of an advantage for Cadel,” he said.
Anderson said the debut of Australian team GreenEDGE will attract great interest.
“It’s exciting times for Australia as a cycling nation,” he said.
“They’ve already said don’t expect any results in the general classification, but in saying that, they’ve got Matty Goss there as a sprinter so he could very well get the jersey in the first couple of days.”© AAP 2013