Evans stops his season early to prepare for 2013

Former Tour champ isn't fit enough to contend in late-season races after an infection and knee pain hampered him in August

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Cadel Evans has called an end to his 2012 racing campaign.

According to a release from Evans’ BMC Racing team, medical tests performed last week in Italy revealed no damage to the Aussie’s right knee and no lingering effects of what staff felt was an on-and-off low-level infection. Those two ailments, however, have left Evans lacking the fitness to contend in late-season events like the world championships, where he would have been a pre-race favorite if riding with his full capacities.

“But considering there are so few races left, and with his current level of fitness, the medical staff and management decided to make this the end of his season,” said team doctor Max Testa.

Evans was scheduled to compete in the Canadian WorldTour races this weekend in Québec and Montréal.

“I’m disappointed surely, but in the end, there’s nothing I can do,” he said. “I wanted to come back and race this year but it could possibly compromise my 2013. At this point, we can’t afford to do that. So I’ll completely recover and do what I can to be back to my normal level next year.”

Evans rode his way through and up-and-down 2012 that saw him win the Criterium International, but fall short in his Tour de France defense, where he finished sixth overall, one place behind teammate and best young rider Tejay van Garderen.

“We want for him to be competitive in 2013,” said BMC director John Lelangue. “There is only the world championships and the Tour of Lombardia as big races where he could have been one of the favorites. But you have to be 100 percent for those races and with his actual state now, it’s a wise decision to stop now and totally rest and recover and then rebuild for next season.”