Cadel encouraged despite losing TDU lead
Cadel Evans has confessed that Simon Gerrans and Orica-GreenEDGE caught his BMC team off guard in the Tour Down Under.
But Evans remains upbeat about his start to the season, despite losing the Tour lead to his fellow Australian cycling star in Saturday’s decisive fifth stage.
While Gerrans only leads by Evans by one second going into Sunday’s last stage, Orica-GreenEDGE look too strong and should protect that advantage.
Stage five featured two climbs of Old Willunga Hill Rd south of Adelaide and then a summit finish.
Evans explained that soon after the first climb, Orica-GreenEDGE put the hammer down and managed to isolate some of his team-mates.
The Tour de France champion and a couple of other BMC riders led the charge at the start of the second and final climb.
Evans gained a gap on Gerrans, but eventually the effort told.
Gerrans, with help from team-mates Daryl Impey and Simon Clarke, patiently rode back up to him and then sprinted clear at the finish.
Gerrans finished third, gaining a precious four-second time bonus, and Evans was four seconds behind in sixth place.
That wiped away Evans’ previous seven-second advantage over Gerrans.
“Orica I would have to say rode fantastically,” Evans said.
“After they put pressure on after the KOM (King of the Mountain) sprint on the first time up Willunga, it caught some of us on the back foot and that cost me at the start (of the second climb) where I had to make moves.
“Sometimes you just get beaten by a better rider and a better team.”
Evans has not given up hope, but noted that Orica-GreenEDGE have a team specifically designed to help Gerrans win the Adelaide Tour.
BMC’s Tour team is the basis of the lineup that will be around Evans at the May Giro d’Italia, his main goal this year.
Also, a second place overall at the Tour will still be a solid result for Evans and continue his encouraging start to the season.
He was second at the road nationals behind Gerrans and rode superbly on Thursday to win stage three.
“I am riding as well as I had hoped, maybe even better and I think my performances have demonstrated that,” he said.