He’s just been announced as an ambassador for next month’s 2022 UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong. Late yesterday, Bicycling Australia’s Nicola Rutzou and Peter Maniaty were part of a fascinating video call with Cadel Evans – still Australia’s only elite Road World Champion – from his European home in Switzerland where he’s spent the past week or so in Covid isolation. Here’s just a bit of what he had to say…
In the men’s race, Cadel isn’t at all keen on the chances of riders who went deep at the recent Tour de France. While acknowledging someone like Tadej Pogacar can do almost anything, he’s definitely leaning towards one-day specialists with two-time reigning World Champion, Julian Alaphilippe, at the very top of his list. “Alaphilippe is returning from injury, so he’s fresh, he’s hungry and he just won his first race back.” Other riders mentioned include Australia’s Michael Matthews and possibly even former champion Mads Pedersen, particularly if conditions on race day are difficult.
Assuming he gets selected, Cadel isn’t ruling Caleb Ewan out of making it to the finale, certainly if he can rediscover his Milan-Sanremo form of seasons past.
Whilst acknowledging the Aussie sprinter hasn’t had the best of luck in 2022, Cadel also reminded us that he too was having only a modest season back in 2009, before going on to claim the rainbow stripes in Mendrisio, barely 10km from where he lives when in Europe. “It was a career changing result for me.”
While very much looking forward to bringing his bike with him next month, Evans admits he hasn’t ridden much in the Illawarra over the years, “Although I did ride up Mount Keira once as a junior.” Cadel made it clear he’s very interested in the amount of corners, especially on the finishing circuit that includes the punchy ascent of Mt Pleasant, and also understanding the width of the local roads.
“It could be factor,it certainly was in Yorkshire and again in Belgium last year,” he said.
The 2022 UCI Road World Championships take place in Wollongong from 18-25 September.