Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) is positioned to become the oldest winner of the Giro d’Italia. After Tuesday’s mountain stage to Montasio, he trails by only 41 seconds to leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and a handful of other hopefuls hover around two minutes back with plenty more mountains to come.
“Thanks to all the factors – the rain, the crashes, the time trial – I’m there,” Evans said yesterday afternoon after finishing the Vajont stage.
The stage marked 50 years since a landslide caused the dam to overflow and killed nearly 2000 people.
Evans enjoyed the day and the scenery. The dam is no longer in use, allowing a clear view of the valley above and below to Longarone.
The questions at the line were about his possibilities of winning in just over one week in Brescia at 36 years old. That would make him the race’s oldest winner.
Fiorenzo Magni holds the record so far, winning the 1955 Giro d’Italia at 34 years and 5 months old.
Evans moved into position after a strong first week, capped by a seventh place in the Saltara time trial. The Altopiano del Montasio, rising to 1519 metres in Italy’s northeast Friuli region, was the true test. Evans passed.
The Australian, first to win the Tour de France in 2011, marked Nibali all the way to the line. He only lost time in bonus seconds.
Wiggins lost 49 seconds to Nibali. He said, “I limited my losses on probably the toughest finish in this Giro.”
“Nibali is going strongly; Wiggins less than expected,” Evans commented.
“I’m going better than I thought I would. Maybe I’ll even improve, or maybe not! Anyway, I’m hoping for the best.”
He is going very well considering where he was at last year, knocked out by a virus, and his last minute decision to race the Giro d’Italia. He decided with BMC Racing to take part only six weeks out so that he could find form for the Tour de France.
“I needed to race,” he said. “As a result of the late decision, though, I’ve had little time to study the course.”
The Corsa Rosa today heads towards Treviso, where Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) will fight for his 100th win, and Cherasco tomorrow. This weekend, the attention turns back to the GC fight.
The Giro d’Italia climbs to Bardonecchia on Saturday and, for the first time, Galibier on Sunday. Evans used the French pass to help clinch his Tour title in 2011.
For now, he takes in the view, and enjoys the calm before the storm.
“I’m happy to have a few days of rest, hopefully a little bit less stress,” continued Evans.
“It’s been pretty full on for the GC thus far. Hopefully, less stress means we can focus better and race harder in the important days.”
Giro d’Italia 2013: Previews and race info
Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage reports
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Photos by Graham Watson