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The question about whether or not Cadel Evans will continue beyond the end of this season as a BMC Racing Team rider – and indeed as a professional – will be decided after the Vuelta a España, where the Australian will compete in support of team-mate Samuel Sanchez.
BMC Racing Team president Jim Ochowicz confirmed on Monday that discussions were ongoing but that a final outcome would likely not come for some time yet.
“We are talking,” he told CyclingTips. “He is getting ready for Utah right now, then he is doing the Vuelta. I think the evaluation of Cadel’s future will happen sometime there after the Vuelta, around the world championships, because he is planning on doing that as well for Australia. So there is still a lot of racing left this year to think too much about next year.”
Evans won the Tour de France in 2011 but things didn’t go to plan in the race last season. As a result the team decided to back the younger Tejay van Garderen for the overall in 2014, with Evans to target the Giro d’Italia.
Things started well and the Australian led the race until the end of stage 11, but then he started slipping backwards. He ultimately finished eighth overall, some way off his target.
The performance – and the lack of clarification afterwards on his future – prompted speculation about whether or not the 37 year old would continue into 2015.
Ochowicz said that it was too soon to know what would happen. “He wants to do well at the Vuelta. He wants to help [Samuel] Sanchez, because Sanchez helped him at the Giro so we made a little agreement with everybody. That is why Tejay is here. We are a happy family, and Cadel wants to do the Vuelta well for Sam. Then we will carry on and think about next year.”
Asked if Evans was considering not only whether he wanted to continue with the BMC Racing Team but also with the sport itself, Ochowicz confirmed that this was one of the matters he is weighing up at present.
“He has got to evaluate that. Every elderly rider has to at some point make a decision about the future,” he said. “It has to do with physiology; how good am I right now, and how do I feel? Am I tired of crashing, do I not want any more injuries?
“Injuries could be from anything, a strained back or even a knee problem that just has nothing to do with crashing or anything…it just means you are getting older. Am I motivated still to race, how do my family look at this, what do my friends think about it, what do my sponsors think about it? So there are just so many variables to run through, and then eventually he can make a decision.
“He is at that age where is going to have to make one sooner or later; if it is not this year, next year or sometime pretty soon.”
Evans is a past winner of the Tour and also a former victor in the world road race championship. Winning the Giro would have proven he was able to come back from a couple of at-times frustrating seasons, but that didn’t happen.
The question is that raises is if he would be willing to walk away without one more moment in the spotlight, or if he would continue in order to try to take one more big win and go out in style.
Ochowicz believes that the rider doesn’t feel under pressure in that regard. “He has done enough. He doesn’t have to show anybody what he is capable of – he has already done it.”