What's Cool In Road Cycling

Cadel Evans, The Outsider from Mountain Biking

– Reported by Gazzetta dello Sport –

MONTEGROTTO TERME (Padova), 27 May 2002 – If it’s true that the eyes are the
windows to the soul, you would understand immediately that Cadel Evans is
calm man. One views in his incredibly blue eyes and one seems to float in
them, on a sea without waves or wind. The young man has suddenly found
himself catapulted into the position of captain and is right now contesting
the overall win at the Giro d’Italia, his first, in five days, breathing
quietly and slowly, and, if there’s any nervousness in him, these clear eyes
don’t betray him.

Second in the classification, the twenty five year old from Mapei-Quick Step
is attempting to wear pink without a lot of noise and with an air of one who
attempting the great without taking himself too seriously. Above all, he
himself stands as leader by the forced abandon of Stefano Garzelli and his
exploits in the mountains and time trials. The rest, a rise from 10 years on
the mountain bike serves for something: he has won everything there,
comprised of two world cups, is now focused on the road “to which I am
attracted to because I’m not stimulated on the mountain bike anymore, and
where, other than the tactics involved in a race, there is more organization
and professionalism.” In the morning, after studying the course profile,
turns to music to relax. At night, after dinner, there is five minutes to
talk with the group, then returns to his room, more music, and maybe a word
or two with his roommate, Dario Cioni, who is also an ex-mountain biker and,
like Evans, is quiet and independent.

“I feel like there is a waiting inside me – says Evans, in his second year
as a professional, in his more than acceptable italian – I try to keep
myself from the pressure and the responsibility and continue doing the best
job possible. I don’t feel the weight of needing to win the Giro, because I
know well my physical limits, I know how much I can give and I still feel
much energy in my legs, but it’s the first time that I’ve participated in a
3 week stage race and therefore these last 6 days are an unknown for me”.
When Garzelli had returned home, his director Damiani said to Evans: “Now
you are in the role of captain along with Noй”, and he simply replied: “Ok,
that’s my job”.

“At the Giro I came to help Garzelli, and when I set up the sprint at Liege,
which he won, it was like I had won. The first week of the race I felt ok,
then I entered the hard part of the race. Now there are the mountains, and
the harder they are, the happier I am, because in mountain biking there are
walls and we are always riding up them. However, I don’t know the Dolomites:
I haven’t done what Hamilton has done, who previewed them before the Giro: I
don’t need to win. And I’m not like Pantani, who has body guards in the
race: I’m searching for a little bit of luck, and, if it’s true that there’s
a difference between worker and captain, there isn’t a difference between my
state of being yesterday and today”. So say’s Cadel Evans, unperturbed by
his sudden popularity.

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