Former Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans maintains that elusive victory in the world’s biggest race remains his priority this season despite his favourite’s tag heading into the Criterium du
The eight-day stage race begins on Sunday, and along with the traditional mountain stages comes the chance to test the exact same time trial, over 42.5km, that will be used on the 20th and penultimate stage of the Tour de France.
Evans has had a low key 2011 so far compared to his heady 2010 season when he was everywhere showcasing the rainbow jersey he won as world road race champion at the end of 2009.
But that hasn’t stopped the BMC star in his tracks, winning two prestigious stage races at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie.
With three runner-up places at the Dauphine in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Evans goes into the Dauphine as a natural favourite. But he claims the Tour’s yellow jersey is the only target on his horizon.
“Since the Tour de Romandie, I trained and rested with the Tour de France in mind because it is my big objective,” said Evans. “I went to a training camp at altitude and checked out a few important Tour
de France stages. I will check out some others after the Criterium du Dauphine.
“It will be an interesting race to assess my form and that of other riders who were not on the Giro. I’m not going there with great expectations. It is a test, not an objective.”
Evans, however, has still done his homework and checked out key stages: Sunday’s prologue in St-Jean de Maurienne (he won the Nancy prologue in 2009), Wednesday’s time trial in Grenoble and the two mountain stages for next weekend.
“Obviously, depending on how the race goes, I could get carried away as it happened to me in the past already,” he added. “I like this race and its mountains. But I did not check out all the stages in detail. All I know is that there are several mountain top finishes, which I will probably like.
“The most important test for me will be the Grenoble time trial because it’s the same as the one on the Tour de France.”