Evans playing the long game
Defending Tour champion relishing three-week test against Wiggins
Last Updated: 30/06/12 2:21pm
Cadel Evans: Says he is still hungry for success at the Tour
Defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans has hinted that the three-week distance could be a decisive factor in the outcome of his expected duel with Bradley Wiggins.
Team Sky's Wiggins has been in dominant form this season, taking victories at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphine.
But while the British rider has proved unbeatable in week-long races, Evans thinks the gruelling length of the Tour may add a different element to the fight for victory
Evans said: "This year Sky and Wiggins - their results speak for themselves, certainly in the week-long stage races. They've been the best team and Brad's been the best rider. They've really lifted their level.
"We'll see how they perform here at the Tour over three weeks. I've never gone head-to-head with Wiggins over a three-week Tour. I'm guessing we'll be in for a good battle."
Although Evans and Wiggins are the two clear favourites with the bookmakers, the BMC rider played down the prospect of it being a two-man duel for the yellow jersey.
"I've never gone head-to-head with Wiggins over a three-week Tour."
Cadel Evans Quotes of the week
Evans added: "There are 198 people in the race. Eight of them are my team-mates and everyone else I'll have to beat. Wiggins is one of those.
"It's pretty simple - you've got to get to Paris quicker than anyone else. This year there will be more attention on us and what we're doing. That will change the way we race a little bit.
"For everyone on the team knowing that we can win it, knowing that we have already won one, makes the race quite a bit easier."
Prior to his win last year, Evans finished runner-up in 2007 and 2008 and he enters this year's race with five top-eight finishes from seven starts.
Despite finally claiming a long-awaited victory last year, the 35-year-old insists he is still as motivated as ever to win cycling's greatest proze.
"My motivation isn't waning but it comes from the near misses more than the successes in the last few years," Evans said.
"Two times second, hopefully I can cancel them out with two times first. That would be a good average."