A ESTRADA, Spain (VN) — Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) will reveal his future in a press conference next week before the start of the Ponferrada world championships in northwest Spain.
There is growing speculation that the 2011 Tour de France winner will announce his retirement, but Evans refused to specify what his future holds, only confirming it will be revealed next week.
“I am wondering about that, too,” Evans laughed before the start of the stage 18 at the Vuelta a España. “We are going to make an announcement before the worlds.
“I’d like to, because I want to go to the worlds fully concentrated, and have everything in my head about what’s going on,” Evans told VeloNews and another reporter. “I want to stay focused, to have a really good finish to the season, with the worlds, and Giro di Lombardia.”
Speculation has been growing that the 37-year-old Australian will retire at season’s end, but it is still possible that he could continue racing.
Once one of the most consistent grand tour performers, Evans has had a transitional 2014 season. Last fall, BMC Racing management broke the news to Evans the team would be backing Tejay van Garderen as its sole captain for the Tour de France, and relegated Evans to race the Giro d’Italia, instead.
Evans missed the Tour for the first time since his debut in 2005, and tried to make the best of his campaign.
The tenacious ex-mountain biker proved he still has the chops, winning five times this season, including a stage and the overall at the Giro del Trentino, two stages at the Larry R. Miller Tour of Utah, and a stage at the Santos Tour Down Under.
Yet Evans fell short in the Giro, and despite carrying the pink jersey early on, he could not match the climbers in the mountains, settling for eighth overall.
He came into this Vuelta — his 18th career grand tour start — without any GC ambitions, insisting that he was racing to support Samuel Sánchez, who started Thursday’s stage eighth overall.
“This is my second of 18 grand tours … without the intentions of riding for GC,” Evans said. “This is the first one I came here to be good for ‘Samu.’ It’s a real change of mentality.
“My performance has been a lot lower than I expected, but I have a lot of things going on in my life, and I haven’t been as concentrated as I would have liked to have been. It’s coming better now. Better late than never.”
Evans also confirmed he will race the road worlds in Ponferrada, and return to the Giro di Lombardia in Italy.
“I didn’t ride the Tour de France, and I worked hard before the Tour Down Under to arrive good there, and I think there are a lot of riders who are tired from the season. Fatigue is a big factor in this part of the year, so it will be interesting to see who is going well at the worlds,” he said.
“From what I understand, Michael Matthews is going to be our guy. Same thing, I go there with a different role,” Evans said of the worlds. “If it’s a hard, aggressive race, maybe it will be for me, or for [Simon] Gerrans. If it’s a real fast race, and it comes together as a group, my efforts will be riding into breakaways in the last lap. That’s how the worlds go, one minute, you think all is lost, and then next minute, you’re right there for the win.”
On Thursday, Evans preferred to talk about the present.
It’s hard to surmise what Evans would do if he decided to continue with his career. Other grand tour contenders have been able to successfully transition into helper roles, with the latest being Ivan Basso (Cannondale), who will ride in support of Alberto Contador at Tinkoff-Saxo next season.
He clearly still has the fitness to win races, as evidenced by his respectable season this year with BMC, but whether he’d want to settle for less after a stellar career as Australia’s first Tour de France winner remains to be seen.
It’s hard to imagine, however, that he would call a press conference to announce a contract extension.