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By Andrew Hood
It might seem odd that the rider who’s finished second in the past two editions of the Tour de France would welcome back the rider who ruled the race with an iron fist for seven years straight.
But that’s Cadel Evans for you, perhaps the most polite rider in the peloton.
Lance Armstrong’s looming return to elite cycling might have most pros quietly muttering in their muesli, but Evans is openly welcoming back Big Tex.
“Lance is coming back? Great!” Evans told The Sydney Morning Herald when Armstrong confirmed news reported on VeloNews about his comeback. “I like him as a rider and, of course, as an individual. I think he brings a lot to cycling.”
Evans might soon be wishing Armstrong never thought about making a comeback after a three-year hiatus from elite racing.
The 31-year-old Australian will face the double gauntlet of Armstrong and Alberto Contador, especially if the pair team up at Astana as expected.
“I will be watching with interest. It could be someone else I have to watch leading into the Tour,” he continued. “At least I will not have as much media attention – that is a good thing from my point of view.”
Evans wouldn’t mind someone else capturing the spotlight, especially after all the mounting pressure this summer as the Tour top favorite.
While Armstrong shines under the media glare, Evans seems to run away from it.
The ex-mountain biker had a few interesting snaps caught on YouTube, including swatting away TV microphones and head-butting a Belgian TV crew.
Like most, Evans wondered if Armstrong would be able to return to the highest levels of the sport to compete for victory in the Tour.
“For now though, there seems to be a lot of unknowns: What team will he ride for? What races will he do? Or more importantly, what races can he do?” Evans said. “Having time out of racing normally makes it very difficult to come back, at Lance’s age especially. But if anyone can come out of retirement and win the Tour de France, Lance would be the man.”