Australia's Evans to ride in Olympic test event

Tour runner-up to scope out Beijing road course

Australian Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans will contest an Olympic cycling test event in Beijing later this month, Cycling Australia said Monday.

Evans, who last month became the first Australian to finish on the podium of the Tour de France, will take part in the Good Luck Beijing Road events on the 2008 Olympic road race and road time trial courses on August 18 and 19.

Joining Evans will be Australian road professional Matt White, 2004 Olympic teams pursuit gold medallist Peter Dawson, Australian pursuit champion Phil Thuaux and three-time junior 2006 world champion Cameron Meyer.

Athens Olympic road race champion Sara Carrigan and two-time World Cup Series winner Oenone Wood will also make the trip for reconnaissance purposes as only men's races are scheduled for the test event.

"I'm looking forward to getting together with the Aussie team and going to a new place," Evans said in a CA statement.

"It's good to have a mental picture of the course before you go into the race," said Evans, who represented Australia at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, but as a cross-country mountain bike competitor.

The Beijing Olympic men's road race will be staged 13 days after the 2008 Tour de France on August 9 with the women's road race slated for August 10.

The road time trials for both men and women will take place on August 13.

"I think the timing will work pretty well because there's enough time to fit in a little bit of recovery and still keep the Tour de France form," Evans said.

"I'm interested in how polluted it is (in Beijing), what the climb and descent are like on the time trial and what gearing is going to work best," he said.

Evans along with three-time world champion Michael Rogers is expected to target the road time trial at the Olympics.

Australian national performance director Shayne Bannan said the Beijing trip would provide invaluable information for the Australian camp to aid their preparation for the Olympics.

"We're following the system we set up for Athens in 2004," Bannan said in the statement.

"We have the ability to go and look at the road and time trial courses with several of our sports scientists who will map the courses so we when we get back to our European base near Varese in Italy we can find training courses that replicate what the riders will face in China."

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