Giro d’Italia race leader, Cadel Evans is resting today ahead of an important two weeks in his pink jersey defence. He will join Steve Morabito and his other BMC team-mates for a training ride near Modena. Their thoughts will mostly like be on Barolo time trial and Alpine mountain stages.
“I’ve been working towards this Giro d’Italia calmly, not obsessing over it,” Evans said. “Every day, every training ride, I’ve gone out with an objective.”
If he succeeds with his Giro objective in two weeks’ time in Trieste, he would be come the first Australian to do so. At 38, he would also become the oldest in Giro history.
Evans placed second in the Tour de France twice and in 2011, became the first Aussie to win it. This year, instead, team BMC Racing gave team-mate Tejay van Garderen the green light to race in France.
“I’m not upset to miss the Tour de France. At this moment, I’m quite enjoying this Giro d’Italia,” Evans said.
“Thankfully, with the Giro goal, everyday when you go out of your house, people aren’t asking you if you are going to win it. When they do that while you are aiming for the Tour de France, it becomes frustrating.”
Evans leads the race by 57 seconds over Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) trails by 1-10 minutes and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) by 1-20. Nairo Quintana (Movistar), second in the Tour de France last year behind Chris Froome, sits at 1-45.
Pozzovivo gained 26 seconds with a late attack on the climb to Passo del Lupo above Sestola yesterday. Evans said that he calculated his effort with the high mountain passes still to come and let the small Italian off the leash.
“Those attacks that are important, and I’ll have to respond to him in the future, for sure, but I try not to take risks,” Evans said. “I can’t watch all the attacks.”
Evans ought to be able to gain more of a cushion on his rivals in the time trial to Barolo on Thursday. The 41.9-kilometre stage cuts through the wine-producing hills in Piedmont.
“Every second that I have over Quintana is an extra advantage,” Evans said. “The time trial in Barolo is a place where I’d like to gain time. It’d be better to have the advantage in the mountains so I can keep clam for the trip to Trieste.”
The Giro travels east through the Alps with stages over the Stelvio and Gavia, and finishes on Monte Zoncolan. It also stops in Bassano di Grappa for a mountain time trial to Monte Grappa, which Evans said would have more of an impact than Barolo’s stage.
Today in Modena, land of balsamic vinegar and Ferrari, the temperature should reach 24°C – perfect for a bike ride. Besides taking in the countryside, Evans must consider how to defend his pink jersey in the final phase of the Giro d’Italia.
Giro d'Italia leader Cadel Evans mindful of tough final week
Selection of images from the ninth stage of the 2014 Giro d'Italia by Graham Watson