Tour near-misses motivate Cadel
Four years of near-misses and misfortune at the Tour de France still burn within Cadel Evans, despite last year’s historic win.
The 35-year-old Australian cycling star is lacking nothing for motivation as he makes final preparations for this year’s Tour.
Evans fronted a packed media conference at the BMC team hotel in Liege, Belgium on Friday, a day before the Tour starts with a 6.4km prologue time trial.
While Evans now has a complete career, the 2009 world road champion remains determined to extract everything possible from himself while still at the top.
“I have a few more boxes yet to tick,” he said.
“Winning one Tour was great, winning two must be better, right?
“My motivation isn’t waning, I think it probably comes from the near-misses and the close calls in the last few years.”
After narrowly finishing second at the 2007 and ’08 Tours, Evans struggled in the ’09 edition and two years ago he led for only one day before a crash put him out of title contention.
Then last year, he rode superbly with perfect support from his BMC team-mates to become the first Australian Tour winner.
But Brad Wiggins’ outstanding season has made the Sky team leader the No.1 race favourite.
The general perception is that the Tour will come down to head-to-head duel between them.
Evans is unfazed by not being favourite or Wiggins’ strong confidence, which is based in part on the British rider’s data from racing and training.
“It would be interesting to see his data, wouldn’t it?,” Evans said with a grin.
“We’ll see – we’ll see on the results sheet in Paris.
“I’ve never gone head-to-head with Wiggins in a three-week Tour, so I’m guessing we’ll be (in) for a good battle.”
Evans is also confident after a quiet but solid buildup.
He said an illness in January had been a setback, plus he had to pull out of the Ardennes classics in April because of a sinus infection, but otherwise the year has gone well.
A big change from a year ago is that Evans and wife Chiara have become parents, adopting Ethiopian toddler Robel.
“Certainly it adds a whole different element to your life,” he said.
“As a bike rider, it makes going away from home just a little bit harder.
“But it’s all the better to come home to a little guy who’s learned to say ‘papi’, among other things.”
Evans added intense interest from Australia did not make him feel more pressure to win again.
“Whether I had a good Tour or a bad Tour, so many people in Australia were always there for me and supporting me,” he said.
“I feel that we’re all a little bit in it together, I’m the guy here flying the flag and everyone else is following me from back home.© AAP 2013
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