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“If he thought someone was gifting that race, he would stop,” Sunderland said. “He is like that. He would want to earn it. You have your young riders there too …"

Photo: Sirotti
02.11.2014 @ 07:47 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Cadel Evans took an active part in organizing his farewell event, Great Ocean Road Race, by designing the course together with its race director Scott Sunderland. Nonetheless, the 37-year old Australian emphasized that a final shape of event’s parcours hasn’t been given to suit his characteristics and thus his victory shouldn’t be expected.


Asked about his winning prospects, Evans smiled and said, "Easier said than done. I designed a course but I didn't design it in my favour. It doesn't seem to make sense but with the longevity of the event in mind ... that's the way we've come to make the course.”


The inaugural edition of the Great Ocean Road Race will take place on February 1 and is expected to attract some of the riders set to participate in the preceding Tour Down Under.


Sunderland confirmed that the course design weren’t created to favour the 37-year old Australian and suspected that the former Tour de France champion would feel offended by being given this kind of handicap.


“If he thought someone was gifting that race, he would stop,” Sunderland said. “He is like that. He would want to earn it. You have your young riders there too …


“Some of these other young kids … they are not going to lay down for anybody.”


The race director is convinced, however, that even though the route doesn’t suit his characteristics, Evans will do his utmost to fight for a victory in his final event as professional rider. Lack of more important objectives on a horizon and huge support of home crowds should only help him.


“It’s not a stage race where you have GC riders taking riders to the finish not worried about winning … the win is everything on a one day race,” Sunderland said. “I am not saying Cadel can absolutely win. But I don’t think we should underestimate that he is going to be a chance either.”


“He doesn’t have a Giro or Tour [preparation] to worry about,” Sunderland said. “It’s just this race, the nationals and Tour Down Under. He’ll adapt his training to it.


Asked about clear favourites to take the spoils in the inaugural Great Ocean Road Race, Sunderland pointed out to Michael Matthews. Orica-GreenEDGE is the second WorldTour outfit expected to participate in the event along with Evans’ BMC Racing, and the route seems to be tailor made for the 25-year old Australian.


“Yes, Michael Matthews will have a good chance. Yes, if he comes back a Matt Goss [MTN-Qhubeka] … these types of riders and many others [will have a chance].


“But Cadel knows the roads … And it is not only Cadel who won’t want to go with Michael Matthews to the finish either. There is going to be everyone else there.”


There’s a long way to go before the Great Ocean Road Race will have it’s place in the UCI calendar and is currently faces a stiff competition in races held in the Persian Gulf. Sunderland believes in their chances, though.


“As a 1.1 [race] only 50 per cent of the teams can be WorldTour,” said Sunderland. “We are going to be aiming for 18 teams, so that means we would be allowed to have nine WorldTour teams. That’s the goal and we will see how we go with it.”


“We have some stiff competition – [with competing] races Dubai, Qatar and Oman.”


“But we are confident we will be able to attract teams from the Tour Down Under.”



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