Australia's Cadel Evans said Thursday he is fed up of being the nearly man of the Tour de France and is more determined than ever to land cycling's greatest race.
Evans has been dogged by doubt after finishing runner-up in the Tour in 2007 and 2008 and only managing a trouble-plagued 30th place in this year's event.
"I am tired of being known as the bloke who finishes second in the Tour de France," Evans said. "I had a lot of bad luck this year but I am already looking ahead to next year and am more determined than ever to win it, I won't be satisfied until I have."
The Australian's challenge to this year's eventual winner Alberto Contador ended in the 15th stage, in what he said was one of his worst days of any Tour de France campaign when he fell well behind the leading pack and out of contention.
He had looked on course to win his first grand tour event in the three-week Tour of Spain in September. However, an ill-timed puncture and bike problems at a crucial part of the 13th stage hindered his chances and he finished third overall.
But later in September the 32-year-old's luck changed as he became the first Australian to win the world championship road race in Switzerland.
Evans said the honour of wearing the coveted world champion's rainbow jersey in races over the next year would help to ease some of the disappointment of the Tour de France.
"It was a great moment for me and the fact I get to wear the rainbow jersey for the rest of the year is a fantastic honour," said Evans, who has returned to Australia to launch his first book, Close to Flying.
"It is unlike the yellow jersey in the Tour de France as you never know how long you get to wear that, and it will mean a great deal to me to wear it in Geelong (Australia) for next year's world championship."
Although he indicated last week that he would compete in Australia's Tour Down Under, Evans said he is still to decide whether he will take part in the Adelaide event in January and ride against American Lance Armstrong.
"There are still some things we need to work on. The race is very early in the year and the Tour de France is in July so I have to consider that," he said. "That will be the focus of my attentions for 2010 along with the world championships at the back end of the year. We will just have to wait and see."
© AFP 2009