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Cadel Evans acknowledged the cheering crowd as he soloed to the stage win. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Cadel Evans acknowledged the cheering crowd as he soloed to the stage win. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Evans Solos To Stage Win, Assumes Race Lead Down Under

23. January 2014

On the strength of a vicious attack on Corkscrew Road and a feverish descent to the finish, BMC Racing Team's Cadel Evans soloed to victory and into the race lead Thursday at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Team's First Win Of 2014
Evans powered his BMC teammachine SLR01 up the twisting 2.5-kilometer climb, leaving in his wake previous race leader Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Richie Porte (Team Sky), who briefly clung to the wheel of the 2011 Tour de France champion. Cresting the top with a 15-second lead, Evans increased that margin to 25 seconds on his plunge to the finish before the chase group pulled back time. Grimacing all the way to the finish, the 2009 world road champion acknowledged the BMC Racing Team's first win of the season and the cheers of his home country's crowd with a thumbs up. "I had an idea of what we might have an opportunity to do," Evans said. "When you have an opportunity, you have to run with it. The team has been training really well and we have a really solid group here. It's been a pleasure so far, so I hope I can deliver them some more satisfaction." The victory was Evans's second stage win in eight participations in the Tour Down Under, with a best overall finish of fourth in 2002.

'Went Almost Perfectly'
Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) led a 12-man chase group in 15 seconds after Evans. It included BMC Racing Team's Brent Bookwalter and Ben Hermans in seventh and eighth, respectively. Coupled with a 10-second time bonus for the stage win, Evans leads Gerrans by 12 seconds and third-place finisher and Stage 2 winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) by 15 seconds with three stages remaining. "Today went almost perfectly," Evans said. "It's a good start, but now we look toward Sunday. We've got our work cut out for us." A precisely executed plan by the BMC Racing Team laid the groundwork for Evans's winning attack on the Corkscrew ascent, Sport Director Fabio Baldato said. The team's other six riders sheltered Evans on the fast run-in to the base of the climb before riders like Brent Bookwalter and Steve Morabito took over the pace-making as the road turned upwards. "It went better than how we planned it," Baldato said. "I told the guys the climb would be like a sprint. We have been here more than one week and everybody did a reconnaissance of the climb and the downhill so everybody was ready. All the guys and Cadel did an amazing job."

Notes
By donning the leader's Ochre jersey, Evans leads a stage race for the first time since winning the two-day Critérium International in 2012 … Last season, he won one race – Stage 4 of the Tour of Alberta in Canada – and placed third at the Giro d'Italia for his fifth career podium result at a grand tour … The victory was his first in a WorldTour race since capturing Stage 1 of the Criterium du Dauphiné in 2012 … Evans was asked about the large crowd turnout along the 145-km route. "I'm always in these dramatic moves in these races," he said, chuckling. "Win or lose, it's great to hear so many Aussie accents and to see so many Aussie flags that make this race what it is." Evans last raced the Tour Down Under in 2010.

Listen to complete comments on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

View photos from the race on our Flickr gallery.

Watch a video interview with Evans on the BMC Racing Team YouTube channel.