Has Cadel Evans conceded he can’t win the Tour De France?

Alistair Nitz Roar Rookie

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    2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans of Australia, right, follows overall leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, left, during the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 207.5 kilometers (129 miles) with start in Epernay and finish in Metz, France, Friday July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

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    One of the features of the 2013 Giro d’Italia is a 55-kilometre time trial from Gabbicce Mare to Saltara. It was a feature that attracted Bradley Wiggins as he attempts to win his second Grand Tour. Yesterday, another big name added his name to the race.

    Cadel Evans revealed through La Gazzetta dello Sport (owner of the Giro) that he would again participate in the Grand Tour double – Giro and Le Tour de France. Evans told La Gazzetta, “I’m going to ride the Giro. And I want to make it clear, I won’t be riding it for training but to get back to my best level”.

    The Giro has been a successful hunting ground for Evans after wearing pink in his Giro debut in 2002 and then again in 2010, after winning Stage 7 Carrara to Montalcino in wet and muddy conditions. However, the 2013 parcours provides Evans with what may be his last chance to win the Giro. The course is not as tough as previous years, and the 55km time trial will give Evans an advantage over his greatest rivals like Scarponi, Nibali and Joaquim Rodriguez.

    Evans indicated to La Gazzatta that “BMC suggested doing it. My 2012 season ended with the disappointment of seventh in the Tour de France. The idea was to add an important race like the Giro to my programme. I thought about it and said yes. Getting some extra race days in my legs won’t do me any harm at all.”

    However, we do not need to go back to far to realise how difficult it is to complete the Giro-Tour double, let alone win. The last winner of the Giro-Tour double was Marco Pantani in 1998. Many riders have tried and failed.

    The last time that Evans attempted this feat was in 2010 where he won neither the Giro or the Tour. In fact, he finished a very competitive fifth in the Giro, but could only manage a disappointing 25th in Le Tour.

    But that was three years ago. Is it possible for a 36 year old to be competitive in two of the most difficult bike races in the world?

    Evans’ season to date has been mixed. After finishing third in the Tour of Oman, his form has tumbled with poor results in the Tirreno-Adriatico and at the Criterium International. Similar to last year’s Tour, Evans ended up working for young American star Tejay van Garderen after a poor time trial at the Criterium International knocked him out of contention.

    Evan’s form in recent weeks must be concerning for BMC team management. Team Sky has shown during the Paris-Nice and Criterium International that they will pound teams into submission by increasing the tempo until each team cracks.

    If BMC is going to be a threat to Team Sky’s defence of the Le Tour de France, then it needs to send it best team to both the Giro and Le Tour. Asking a team to send out its number one rider to first compete against the Wiggins-led Team Sky juggernaut and then the Froome-led Team Sky juggernaut is the equivalent to cycling suicide.

    I sense BMC management is also growing nervous about the ability of Evans to win the toughest race on the cycling calender. World cycling is competitive both in terms of sponsorship dollars and race results. A team cannot select a rider just because he won Le Tour two years earlier.

    A rider must prove that he is the best or risk having the team will stop working for him during the race. The selection of Evans to ride at the Giro may be the first sign that BMC team management is starting to strategically question who should be the No. 1 rider at Le Tour in 2013.

    A podium finish by Evans at the Giro may allow him to take the No. 1 team spot to the start line at Porto-Vecchi. However, a poor performance is likely to result in the baton being passed to the next generation at BMC to attempt to lift the trophy on the Champs-Élysées. The next generation’s representative is Tejay van Garderen.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • Roar Guru

      April 1st 2013 @ 11:25am
      Nicholas Carroll said | April 1st 2013 @ 11:25am | ! Report

      Good article. Have to agree that when I saw Cadel would be riding the Gira, it seemed either his or BMC’s faith in his Tour de France abilities were lacking. The rise of Tejay seems to be coming to fruition sooner than I thought.

      • April 1st 2013 @ 10:15pm
        kid said | April 1st 2013 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

        It will be interesting what team BMC field in the giro in support of evans. It might give us an insight as to whether they are using their best riders to have a serious crack at a grand tour or whether they believe TVG to be the teams future.

    • Columnist

      April 1st 2013 @ 11:39am
      Kate Smart said | April 1st 2013 @ 11:39am | ! Report

      It’s all a bit sad and heart breaking, isn’t it. We all so desperately want to see Cadel firing again on all cylinders.

      A Giro and TdF double, highly unlikely isn’t it. Then again, I hate to say it, but I don’t think he’s much chance for either.

      Like most Aussies, though, I will be tuned in and cheering.

    • Columnist

      April 1st 2013 @ 12:03pm
      Elisha Pearce said | April 1st 2013 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

      I’m the same Kate – can’t really see him winning either race at the moment, but I’ll still tune in and cheer!
      He’s going up against Wiggins, Froome, Porte, Nibali and Rodriguez all in the prime of their careers. Evans isn’t a horrible rider, but he’s gotta push himself too far into the red too often to stick with them now because he’s a couple of years past that same prime.

    • Columnist

      April 1st 2013 @ 12:48pm
      Lee Rodgers said | April 1st 2013 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

      I think he’;s gambling on getting good legs at the Giro then heading to France, because on his current form, he isn’t going to make the podium in Italy. It’s a gamble that’s been tried many times before, but a tired and out of form rider is more likely to become more tired from such exertion.

      Hope it works for him but I think it could get messy.

    • April 1st 2013 @ 1:56pm
      andy said | April 1st 2013 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

      Yes, this is a big gamble for cadel. He can still said “No’. Bmc boss,want to see how good is his form by entering this race.
      It is time to shine (Cadel) and prove to your team that you’r still a contender.
      Age is not the issue here , it mentally and physical and determation andtraining , diet, smart to win races!!!
      All come back to one point, is Bmc must put a groupe of climbers to match Skjy!!!!
      I hope BMC owner and sport director reading this comments, if they want Cadel or Tvg to win!!!

      • April 2nd 2013 @ 4:10am
        Martin said | April 2nd 2013 @ 4:10am | ! Report

        Yeah….I am from Slovakia,but I really like Cadel… I would like to see him on podium. I also think that age in his case is not problem. Question is if he will be able to reach his “best level”.
        If yes, that will not be all what is needed. As wrote andy, BMC really needs put in TDF the best climbers which will be available…
        And GIRO before TDF? I am afraid that it wont be working (hoping I am wrong)…

    • Roar Rookie

      April 2nd 2013 @ 9:06am
      Justin Curran said | April 2nd 2013 @ 9:06am | ! Report

      I can see where Cadel and BMC are coming from with this decision. Tirreno and Criterium International showed that Cadel is well behind his main TDF rivals in terms of fitness and form. And sticking to his usual program is unlikely to change that. He probably hasn’t fully recovered his fitness after missing much of 2012 with illness. At least riding in the Giro will give him more race days to build fitness in preparation for July. Admittedly he is unlikely to win either, but racing both might just give him a better chance to at least podium in a Grand Tour this year.

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