By Agence France Presse
Australian Cadel Evans said he has virtually no chance of winning cycling’s coveted rainbow jersey on home soil next year when the world road race championships are held in Geelong.
Evans, who finished runner-up in the Tour de France in 2007 and 2008, is among a handful of contenders looking to end Spain and Italy’s domination of the competition’s road race here on Sunday.
And he feels the profile of the 13.8km circuit that the peloton will race 19 times for a total distance of 262.2km suits his climbing talents better than the 2010 course.
Asked if he could win the world title this year, he said: “I’m not going to say I can’t.”
But next year will be a different story.
Held for the first time in Australia, the 2010 men’s road race will roll out of Melbourne and end with a circuit race around Geelong.
Evans, who finished third in the Vuelta a España, which ended in Madrid last Sunday, believes that could leave a group of around 50 riders heading towards the finish line in Geelong to contend a bunch sprint.
“I live 5km from Mendrisio for nine months of the year, and I live 20km from next year’s course the other three months,” he said at the 2010 presentation late Thursday.
“I’ll be honest, this year’s course suits me a lot better, but the Vuelta a España, and finishing on the podium, is a good lead-in to it.
“It (the 2010 course) is going to be a bit different. Having that section at the start, leading to the circuit, it’s the first time it’s ever happened at the world championships – it’s more like the Olympics.
“The small circuit is the one that interests me most, but I’m expecting a group of fifty to contest the finish.”
Organizers of next year’s event thanked UCI president Pat McQuaid for awarding the competition to Australia, which has produced many top cycling talents over the past two decades.
And whether an Australian emerges with the famous yellow jersey or not, Evans believes the championships, held in October, will prove a hit Down Under.
“To race in Australia next year will be a great opportunity for Australian fans to see one of the best one-day races of the year right at home,” added Evans.
The Australian failed to live up to expectations on the Tour de France this year, finishing outside the top ten for the first time in his career.
On Sunday he will hope to use the confidence gleaned from his third place finish in Spain to challenge the likes of Spaniard Alejandro Valverde and Italian Damiano Cunego, the two main favorites.