Posts Tagged ‘Cadel Evans’
Cadel Evans, tough guy. Yeah, that feels strange but we’re getting used to it.
The 2010 Tour Down Under is the first Protour event for Evans wearing the rainbow strip jersey of World Road Race Champion. What his home town fans are seeing up close is a man with a successful personality transplant. Evans the dull is now Evans the bold.
Since his big win in Mendrisio, Switzerland with an uncharacteristically aggressive attack on the final climb, Evans has completely changed his racing style. The conservative tactician always calculating odds is now the impulsive, daring rider who sees blood and bares pointy incisors.
You’re looking at a new tough guy joining the Australian ranks. Bad asses like famous rugby plater Noel Cleal. One story goes that his parents asked him to deal with a plague of wild pigs on the farm. He cornered one of the dangerous pigs, and while it savaged his hand, he felled the beast with a single blow from his other hand. He played the rest of his career missing a few fingers. That’s the kind of Cadel we’re dealing with now.
Underplaying his form coming into his home tour, Evans stated some modest goals for the week. He planned to memorize the names of his new teammates and get in some training. What we didn’t know was that just behind that lie was a fiery cauldron of fury waiting to be unleashed. He must have been listening to Megadeath all week.
When stage three rolled around Evans surprised everyone with an attack. On a searing hot day in Sterling, Evans not only foiled the sprinters but nearly won, taking third behind Spaniard Alejandro Valverde. That was the new Cadel in action. It would have been easy to say, good on you mate, you gave the locals something to cheer, now time to relax.
But we’re talking about Evans the gladiator — yes, like fellow Australian Russell Crowe in the Ridley Scott sword and sandal classic. Old Rome and Old Willunga Hill, it’s all the same thing. On the second climb up Willunga, Evans again launched a brutal assault and only Alejandro (borrowed time) Valverde, his mate Samuel Sanchez and Slovakian Peter Sagan had the legs to keep up.
The in-your-face move nearly won him the Tour Down Under. Eventual winner Andre Greipel almost had a heart-attack and his HTC-Columbia team were forced to ride like turbo slaves to save his ochre jersey.
Evans looked razor sharp, maybe even Wolverine sharp. Yes, again, another Australian tough guy played by Hugh Jackman and ten sharp knives. Where was mild mannered Cadel Evans, the man with the classical pianist wife and sophisticated tastes? Dead, that’s where. This was wild man Evans, the crazy bushman of the peloton. You never know what this man will do.
Tour de France legend claims the yellow jersey gives a man wings. Well, the rainbow jersey gave Evans a 50 gallon drum of legal testosterone. Those stripes came with fire. Or we could also call Cadel the deranged Dingo dog at the evil Australian junkyard. Maybe he has a gun collection, chews tobacco and watches old Chuck Norris movies, too.
Cadel Evans is an animal — snarling, hyper-aggressive and barely house-trained. Watch out, boys and girls, the rainbow bad-ass is headed your way.
Alberto Contador admitted that despite 4 grand tour wins he’s not the boss of the peloton. At 38 years of age and back of a long retirement, Lance Armstrong isn’t the boss anymore.
But ask anyone who the boss of the Tour Down Under is and the answer is unanimous: Andre Griepel. He proved it once again on stage 4 from Norwood to Goolwa with a convincing win over Robbie McEwen (Katyusha) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank). It was his third victory in this Tour Down Under after winning the event in 2008 and nearly winning in 2009 before a crash forced him out of the race.
Between the brutal cross and headwinds and the dominance of Greipel’s HTC-Columbia team, all breakaways were hopeless and submission total. The German sprinter singled out the work of new signing Matthew Goss.
“If you have riders like him then no one can pass us,” said Greipel. “We deserve the win because we always ride from the front.” Spoken like a true boss man. This is the Tour Down Under brought to you by Andre Greipel.
Not that a few riders didn’t give it their best despite the long odds. Rockin’ Robbie McEwen has been hunting his first win of the season and came close once again. “The sprint was tough, especially the last five or six kilometers coming in,” said McEwen. “We got a big crosswind from the right which put us in the left gutter. It just blew the bunch to pieces.”
Radio Shack also did their best to steal a win from Columbia but miscalculated according to McEwen. “I was well placed coming into the sprint on the wheel of Gert Steegmans,” said McEwen. “I come across the line second but couldn’t catch Greipel, I gave him a bit too much head start coming from third. I was hoping Steegmans would just hit out early because he’s so strong but he waited and waited, I think he out-waited himself.”
The 25 knot gusts of wind blew away Alejandro (on borrowed time) Valverde’s chances for overall victory. The Spanish dropped from fourth overall down to 26th. He lost 17 seconds and Greipel’s time bonuses pushed the deficit to 41 seconds.
The rocket from Rostock, Germany wins in the wind. The Boss man of the Tour Down Under has put his foot down again.
Andre Greipel wins the third stage in the Tour Down Under. No wait… that didn’t happen.
In a surprising turn of events, Australia’s own world champion Cadel Evans and Alejandro “borrowed time” Valverde beat the sprinters and finished first and second. No, wait … that didn’t happen.
The hilly stage from Unley to Stirling wasn’t nothing if not unpredictable and crazy. The long shot, out-of-nowhere winner? Portuguese national champion Manuel Cardoso of the Footon-Servetto squad. Yeah, that happened to everyone’s shock and amusement.
It was like the horse at 400 to 1 odds winning the Kentucky Derby. Like the high school kid with the nifty science project winning the Nobel prize in Chemistry. Well kinda, sorta.
“I was extremely happy to have won the tough stage to Stirling,” said Cardoso after the finish. “Once the attack had been closed Caisse d’Epargne did a lot of work on the front in preparation for the finish but I was able to make a big move in the final kilometre.”
The race heated up 70 kilometers in when Simon Clarke (UniSA-Australia) and Karsten Kroon (BMC Racing) pulled off an escape move. They were later joined by Maciej Paterski (Liquigas-Doimo), Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) and Jack Bobridge (Garmin-Transitions). The move was dangerous but ultimately doomed as Valverde’s Caisse d’Epargne’s team ramped up the speed. That tactic brought Valverde and Evans to the front of the action.
“Coming into the last kilometre it was like riding a race in slow motion, everyone was so exhausted,” said Evans. “When I saw that it looked like they had the lead-outs going – Sky, Rabobank… when they started to accelerate they blew.
“I was just following the wheels through [the group] and it looked like Caisse d’Epargne had enough guys left to follow close to Cardoso but obviously not and I couldn’t come round him,” he added. Cadel barely knows his own teammate so Cardoso is a bit of a mystery for the man in the rainbow lycra.
That’s bike racing. Sometimes the big stars crush everyone in site, sometimes a relative unknown has his day. It wasn’t Andre Griepel, Alejandro Valverde or Cadel Evans that made the headlines.
The Down Under Social Club.
World Champion Cadel Evans is using his home tour, the Tour Down Under, not for training but for social networking.
He’s pressing the fresh, meeting and greeting, developing a rapport. Yes, team BMC stands for Big Man on Communication.
I’m just happy to be here to get my season started and meeting my new team-mates is probably the most important thing for me. “
That’s where the name tags comes in. Despite his high profile win in the wold Championships in Mendrisio Switzerland, some of the younger riders simply don’t know who Evans is — and vice verse.
Evans has heard the name George Hincapie– something to do with Paris- Roubaix, and had a vague recollection of Alessandro Ballan, him being the previous world champion, but still Evan’s memory is rusty.
“I didn’t know any of them,” said Evans. “For me, not in any way to dishonor the race at all, but it’s really a great opportunity for us just to get to know each other. I’m just happy to be here with them, get to know them and help them get some results.”
Not to worry though. Evans has a few conversational ice breakers ready to go for those BMC strangers. Like, so, do you like dogs? Mine’s named Molly. Oh, you like heavy metal? My wife’s a concert pianist. What, you’ve had a slow wheel change in a big race? Lemme tell you about slow wheel changes. If you were an animal, and it couldn’t be a kangaroo, what animal would you be?
Evan’s goal for the six stage Tour Down Under is to memorize the entire BMC roster, including birthplace, favorite color and VO2 max. According to his coach, Evans has been working out an hour a day with flash-cards.
The world champion is also using the lyrics to Shirley Ellis‘ famous song, The Name Game, to help cement the names of team riders, For example, George Hincapie would be: “George, bo Beorge, Bonana fanna fo Foerge, fee fy mo Moerge, George.”
“Work together well as a team, that’s my main goal,” said Evans. For me it’s just functioning well as a unit and to come away from that knowing each other better will be my main thing.
You go, Cadel. The man in the rainbow has all the colors down.
Perhaps this is why Cadel Evans beat a hasty retreat from the Silence-Lotto team.
Now we know why he immediately signed for BMC. It wasn’t the personality clash, it was whether he was pregnant for not.
Sure, the doping tests were fine, the constant, 24/7 availability for UCI vampires, fine, but then things went way too far.
With Omega Pharma stepping up and gaining more prominence in the Lotto team, perhaps it was inevitable. The riders were already subjected to constant drug tests. What’s one more test?
For the 2010 season, all riders for the Lotto-Omega Pharma team will undergo pregnancy tests using their Predictor kit. Unique, bold, unexpected, pointless — yes, it’s all those things. Nevertheless….
A spokesman for Omega Pharma defended the pregnancy tests. “We have to make sure there are no false positives. So we start with the men. Obviously, if the test says a rider is pregnant, we know we have a quality control issue,” he said.
Cadel Evans is gone so now tour hopeful Jurgen Van Den Broeck must bear the weight of expectation and also see if he is in fact expecting. “I don’t know what to say,” said the Belgian star rider. “It is always good to pass a test but this seems silly to me.”
Marc Sergeant, the Director Sportif for Lotto Omega said, “crap, you know, we need the sponsor money. They want to test them for swine flu, Alzheimer’s, early onset menopause, whatever, I don’t care.”
How will the riders of Lotto Omega Pharma react to the enforced Predictor pregnancy tests? We should know in nine months.
“He’s going to be bigger and more dangerous than in 2009,” Evans told Australian news agency AAP.
What? Did he just insult seven-time Tour de France winner, cancer survivor, million dollar fund raiser and relentlessly famous endurance athlete Lance Armstrong?
Bigger and more dangerous? Is Cadel Evans out of his mind? Has he lost all reason, judgement, is he on some strange Australian walkabout, speaking in tongues, rambling with incoherent nonsense? In other words, did he just call Armstrong fatter and more violent? The mind reels.
Is there any other conceivable interpretation of these remarks? Bigger, as in what, fatso, slob, Lone Star drinking yahoo living on Tex-Mex chicken burritos? Is that the bigger he is insinuating? Is Evans saying Armstrong has no self control, has lost the will power to manage his weight, that closing in on 38, the champion is a bloated, doughy caricature of his former hard-body self?
And dangerous? Whoa, now there’s a loaded word? What are we talking about here, Cadel? Switchblades, guns, a chainsaw, a samurai sword? Just what exactly are you intimating? That Lance, a beacon of hope to cancer survivors around the globe, has undergone a violent personality change? What lines are we to read between here– is he Scarface, Rambo, a vigilante on a Trek?
It just makes no sense. Why would a mild mannered, thoughtful and classy rider like Cadel Evans call Armstrong fat and violent? Is this just another misquote, goaded by journalists and taken out of context? Did they catch Cadel after a few mojitos too many or has the new world champion just lost his mind?
Twisted Spoke wishes we had an answer.
In the Race of the Falling Leaves, Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) left no doubt who was the strongest.
Gilbert bested Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) in a two-up sprint to win his fourth consecutive ProTour race in a row. He has the form of his life and is no doubt feverishly checking the calendar for upcoming races hoping the season isn’t really over.
There must be a race in Dakar, a kermess in Bora-Bora, a tricycle rally in Peru –something, anything. The man has form coming out his eyeballs. Along with Cadel Evan’s dramatic World Championship win in Mendrisio, Switzerland, Gilbert has transformed the under-performing Silence-Lotto team into a late-season powerhouse. Director Sportif Marc Sergeant must be doing the crazy Lake Como champagne dance.
Vuelta revelation Jimmy Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) made a bid for victory with 48k to go. Then World Champion Evans showed off his rainbow jersey with an aggressive attack but the peloton said “don’t think so, buddy.” Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) gritted his teeth (4ever as his t-shirt says) and launched his assault but Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) kept things in check.
It was up to Gilbert to destroy the pack and throw buckets of lactic acid in their faces. On the final climb of the day, the San Fermo Della Battaglia, the Belgian rider used the strong work of his teammate Evans as a springboard. He broke clear near the top, with only Sanchez joining the world’s hottest rider — the Man of Super Form.
After three wins in the last few weeks, Gilbert was not burdened with any gnawing self doubt. “I know the quality of my work and it will bring wins.” He’s not reading any books like The Way of the Superior Man — because he is, without question, Mr. October.
Sanchez sat on Gilbert’s wheel and is now wishing he hadn’t taken that comfy seat. Although Gilbert launched early, he easily held off the Olympic Men’s Road Race Champion. Belgian frites and beer all around.
“I was confident,” said Gilbert. “Before the last kilometre I felt we had enough time and it is always easy to do a sprint with two instead of eight or ten.”
Gilbert goes four for four, winning the Giro di Lombardia, Coppa Sabatini, Paris-Tours and the Giro del Piemonte. The man is scorching hot and insists that the season continue. Now, what was the date on that kermess in Bora-Bora?
Bad Luck banished.
The untimely crashes, misfortunate mechanicals, eternal second places, this year’s Tour de France debacle, the disappointments and frustrations with his Silence-Lotto squad, the incessant whispers that he’d never win anything of consequence. All gone Sunday in the Men’s World Championship Road Race in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Gone forever and always.
On the final climb up the Novazzano, Evan dropped Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Spain) and took a solo victory by a sweet 27 seconds. He must have had the whole R section of the dictionary in his head: revenge, redemption, relief, reward and — being flat out exhausted — rest and relaxation.
As the media scrum engulfed him, Evan kissed again and again the wedding ring that hung from his neck. It was an absolution, an almost fervent release of all he had endured and suffered. Was that a little heavy on the religious imagery? The man was damn happy the hoard of monkeys were off his back. Fortune finally smiled on the self-described unluckiest man in the peloton.
The five men watching. Rolling in roughly 30 seconds behind the top three finishers were most of the stars, favorites and popular picks. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) , Samuel Sanchez (Spain), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), Damiano Cunego (Italy) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) all had that “oh well” feeling. Too marked, too tactically boxed in and, unlike Evans, getting no help from the cycling gods.
Unable to close the gap, they spent the last kilometers shrugging shoulders and playing a sad game of what-if. Only Cancellara, at home in front of cheering Swiss fans, made a concerted attempt to win with an attack in the penultimate lap. It was a decisive move but not the winning move. Alejandro Valverde, perhaps exhausted from his long flight from his Costa Rican hotel, never had the legs to challenge Evans.
That checkmate move belonged to Evans and it was perhaps the biggest of his career. “I’ve been thinking about this race for two years,” said the Australian. Evans has the rainbow jersey now, yup, that’s him, The Luckiest Man in Mendrisio.
Look cycling fans: the Alejandro Valverde punching bag.
A half dozen riders took vicious shots at Valverde on the 157k stage from Granada to La Pandera. In the end, nothing worked: no knockouts, no time gains. Ivan Basso (Liquigas) was the first to hit the Spaniard, then Cadel Evans (SIlence-Lotto) went to the front and took a swing. Neither had the power or acceleration to force a big gap but the furious pace put Valverde in trouble.
When the gap opened, Robert Gesink (Rabobank) was the next to deliver a punch. Valverde hasn’t been hit this hard since the Italian Olympic Committee smacked him with the two year ban that forced him out of the Tour de France. The Golden Jersey wearer was isolated, the climbing grade reached 13% and for a kilometer the Vuelta looked up for grabs. Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) saw his chance to jump onto the podium and he went hard. For the first time, Samuel Sanchez thought the golden jersey was possible and he accelerated up the road. The punches were coming fast and furious. It was “Let’s Beat Up Alejandro Day.”
Whatever your opinion of Valverde’s doping allegations, there is not questioning his talent and his mental toughness. He knew this La Pandera climb; he’d won it before and slowly but surely he pulled himself back to Basso and Evans. Vuelta done for them. Then the Caisse d’Epargne rider shower his immense strength, closing on Gesink and passing the young Rabobank rider. Sanchez and Mosquera were still ahead but Valverde found his rhythm and craved up their advantage. By the finish line, it was cycling-pugilist Valverde who’d out-punched all his rivals. It wasn’t Mohammad Ali’s Thrilla in Manilla but it was the Pandera Punch-out.
Ohh, we forgot about the Little Prince. Well, he was in on his little bike on a big, big mountain. The wolf was chasing the little prince. “Go away wolf, get away from my $5000 bike.” The winner of stage eight bolted up the mountain from his breakaway group. Nobody even bothered to try catching him. Cunego showed a high end acceleration that reminded Twisted Spoke of Ricarrdo Ricco. Not that we’re making any assumptions but nobody else has that burst in the Vuelta. (Certainly not the post-Operacion Puerto Ivan Basso.)
Sadly, it was another rough day for Tom Danielson who lost six minutes yesterday due to illness. The Garmin-Slipstream rider fought hard on the Pandera and managed to keep his 9th place in the overall competition. Danielson has shown a tenacity that will serve him well as the Vuelta continues.
Alejandro Valverde said whoever wore the Golden Jersey at the summit of La Pandera would win the Vuelta. He must feel pretty confident but we offer a cautionary tale. Fellow Spaniard Roberto Heras won the Pandera stage and the Vuelta in 2005 only be be stripped of the title for doping. With Valverde’s own case awaiting the Court of Arbitration decision, history may well repeat itself.
First his rear tire blew, then Evans blew.
“I don’t deserve this. I do everything right in the fucking sport and I don’t deserve this shit,” said Evans at the finish of stage 13 on the Sierra Nevada summit. That was the R rated Cadel Evans, not the PG-13.
Evan’s is clearly one of the unluckiest riders around. But unluckiest guy in the world? Not by a long shot. That title goes to Croatian music teacher Frane Salek. A hilarious number of near death experiences and tragic events have befallen him. Things way worse than a lousy tube puncture in Spain or riding for the always weak Silence-Lotto squad.
Just for example, his car blew up in a ball of fire — with him inside. A plane door blew off in flight and he crashed into a haystack. A train he was riding in tumbled into an icy river, killing scores of people. He is both the unluckiest and luckiest man alive because, amazingly enough, he is still alive.
So Mr. Evan, bummer that the Cycling Gods dislike you but when was the last time you were hit by a bus like Frane Salek? On the flip side, Salek also won $1,000,000 in the Croatian Lottery. All true.
Buck up, Cadel. Your luck could always turn.