Cadel Evans came into Tirreno-Adriatic with only two days on racing in his legs. Count ’em, two!
He leaves with a stage win, the overall title and a shiny trident trophy rescued from the sea by the Italian Coast Guard. Not too shabby for what the former world champion claimed would be a slow, more relaxed build up in form this year.
“I was tired after I’d finished but my moral was good,” said Evans. Yeah, it should be more than good after beating Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi and a strong Robert Gesink.
“I worked hard this winter without a lot of expectations of what I had top do. My family and my team was a big help and I just go better and better everyday, right up today,” said the Australian.
Evan’s BMC squad looks more cohesive and confident this year and he benefited from the support of a rejuvenated Alessandro Ballan and the strength and wisdom of George Hincapie.
Time to check the time.
To nobody’s surprise, Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) won the 9.3km time trial along the San Benedetto del Tronto seafront. He rode super fast, warping the space time continuum and clocked a time of ten minutes and 33 seconds.
Lars Boom (Rabobank) was second with a time of 10:42, while former Under 23 world time trial champion Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) was third, 18 seconds slower.
“My win might be predictable for some people, but it was never certain until the end. A time trial isn’t finished until the last rider storms across the line,” said Cancellara. “At the World Championships, when I am the last rider to go, I have a reference time. Today, I did not have that, so it became a matter of experience and of knowing what the ideal time might be. In a time trial over only 10km, you don’t spare yourself.”
Ivan Basso’s podium hopes died quickly in the race against the clock as he had trouble with basics like speed, power and technique. He finished in 32nd place and fell to fourth overall — teammate Vincenzo Nibali was fifth on GC.
For Evans, the win was confirmation that his reduced race days plan is off to a fine start. “I’m extremely pleased that I rode so well today and throughout the entire race. I worked very hard this winter, training alone for hours,” said Evans. “Of course my focus remains on the Tour de France, but I always prefer to have some results beforehand.”
Next on the race calendar is the seven-day Volta a Catalunya that starts Monday. Tour rivals Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and Carlos Sastre will be waiting to see what Evans can do.
After all, he’s pretty dangerous at this point. The man is up to nine days of racing now.