Evans plays down hopes of winning send-off in Australia

Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:41pm EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Cadel Evans' final race as a professional cyclist bears his name, runs through his home-town and has his finger-prints on the design, but the former Tour de France winner is not giving himself much hope of winning it.

The 37-year-old Australian, who announced his retirement plan in September, has instead set himself a tougher task of controlling his emotions when he crosses the finish line at the Feb. 1 'Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race'.

"I'm just hoping that it doesn't bring about tears," the Team BMC rider told a packed media conference in Melbourne on Tuesday.

"It's going to be hard to pin on a number for the last time and race for the last time and come into the last kilometer for the last time.

"It could be difficult, that's for sure, but at the same time I really have given everything I have for the sport."

Evans became his country's first Tour de France winner in 2011, a feat rated by Australians among the achievements of the most hallowed national sporting icons like Don Bradman in cricket and tennis great Rod Laver.

Well before Evans decided to pull the pin on his career, government officials in his home state of Victoria had planned a race in his honor which would take in his home-town of Barwon Heads while boosting tourism for the coastal region, an hour's drive from Melbourne.

The result is a 174-kilometre (108 miles) course which travels through hilly countryside and coastal roads on a looping circuit from the port city of Geelong.   Continued...