ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan 20, 2014 (AFP) – Tour de France winner Cadel Evans
turns 37 on February 14 but he says retirement is not on his mind.
The man billed as Australia’s greatest cyclist intends to wait until after
this year’s Giro d’Italia before considering the next step in his career.
“I’m trying not to (think about retirement) — I’d like to do a good Giro
and then use that as an indicator for the future,” Evans said Monday on the
eve of the start to the Tour Down Under.
“My main thing is to get back to my top level, whether that’s 2011 level or
even one or two percent less.
He added he would make an assessment on his future based on that.
“I wouldn’t want to retire early, thinking six months down the track ‘I
think I could be at the front, beating those guys’,” the 2011 yellow jersey
“You don’t want to cut yourself short, but of course you don’t want to be
trying to squeeze out any more than what is actually there.”
Evans, who also won the 2009 world road championship, will miss the Tour de
France this year for the first time since 2005.
And he admitted he could have already raced his last Tour de France.
“It’s possible,” he said.
He struggled for top form in 2012 after illness and finished seventh in his
Tour title defense.
The Australian started last season slowly as well and although changes to
his BMC team racing program saw Evans take third place at the Giro (Tour of
Italy), he slumped to 39th in France.
So this year he’s following advice to focus on Italy.
“That’s probably a good thing, because I’m probably too emotionally
attached to these things sometimes to make rational decisions,” he said.
A second place finish at last week’s Australian road championships
suggested he is finally back on track after two frustrating seasons.
But the star attraction at Adelaide’s Tour Down Under said he was
disappointed to come in behind Orica-GreenEDGE star Simon Gerrans.
“Coming second is actually a good kick in the bum sometimes,” Evans said.
“I’ve had a long career — it motivates you.”
Evans, Gerrans and Sky rider Richie Porte, who finished third at the
nationals, are the three Australians to beat at the Tour Down Under, the
season opening UCI World Tour event
The organizers declared Monday that the Tour Down Under would start Tuesday
as planned after a bushfire in the Barossa Valley was brought under control.