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“My training has been very focused in the last few weeks and I feel that I’m at a level that should hopefully enable me to be competitive on Sunday. I know it’s going to be hard work going up against the larger teams,"...

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09.01.2014 @ 11:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With the Giro d'Italia being his major target in 2014, Cadel Evans will start his racing season earlier than usual. Already confirmed for the Tour Down Under, Evans has now decided to line up at the Australian national championships road race on Sunday and hopes to be competitive despite being the only BMC rider on the start line.

 

2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans has officially declared that he will line up in the elite men’s road race at the MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat this Sunday, 12 January.

 

The much anticipated announcement follows the news in late December that Australia’s greatest ever cyclist had registered for the event, pending final racing approval from his BMC team. Evans will focus on the Giro d'Italia in 2014 and this means that his training is at a more advanced state than usual at this time of the year. He will use the race to warm up for the Tour Down Under which starts on January 21.

 

With confirmation of Evans’ appearance, Sunday’s road race it set to attract a capacity crowd as the 2009 World Champion joins a field of over 150 riders tackling the 183.6km race over 18 laps of the 10.2km Buninyong circuit. Thousands of additional cycling fans are expected to flock to the Ballarat region to catch a glimpse of Evans in action at the road nationals for the first time since 2005.

 

Evans will be significantly handicapped by the lack of team support as he will be the only BMC rider in the race and will be up against mighty contingents from Orica-GreenEDGE and Drapac Professional Cycling. However, he still hopes to put in a competitive performance.

 

“My training has been very focused in the last few weeks and I feel that I’m at a level that should hopefully enable me to be competitive on Sunday," he said. “I know it’s going to be hard work going up against the larger teams, but it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds and I’m looking forward to a good, solid hit out.”

 

Evans will be taking on the strongest line up of men’s riders ever assembled for a national championship this Sunday including; Team Sky’s Richie Porte and Nathan Earle, ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Simon Gerrans, Luke Durbridge, Simon Clarke, Matthew Goss and Matthew Hayman as well as Garmin Sharpe riders Rohan Dennis, Steele von Hoff and Lachlan Morton. Jonathon Cantwell, Will Clarke and Jack Anderson will also headline a large contingent from pro-continental outfit Drapac.

 

The championships kicked off with the time trial events held in Burrumbeet yesterday. Michael Hepburn (elite men), Felicity Wardlaw (elite women) and Jordan Kerby (under 23 men) claimed the first of the national jerseys on offer in challenging conditions.

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