Australian Cadel Evans rates his number one ranking at the end of the 2007 ProTour more highly than even his runner-up finish in this year’s Tour de France.
Evans, 30, is rated the world’s best road racer after securing the top ranking at the end of the European season.
“For me, personally it was better than getting second at the Tour and it’s not easy to do,” Evans said in Sydney on Sunday. “It’s taken from all of the big races from February to October so it’s a long time to have to be good for. In terms of races or contracts or whatever, maybe it isn’t (better) but for me personally it was.”
Evans faces a testing 2008 season with the Tour de France and the Beijing Olympics road race just a fortnight apart on his riding schedule.
“My focus is just to improve my place at the Tour and then do what I can at the Olympics, we’ll see what happens,” Evans said.
Evans said it was possible to go one better and win next year’s Tour de France. “A little bit of luck and keep focused, keep motivated and yeah, it’s possible,” he said.
The former mountain bike world champion, who finished 23 seconds behind winner Spain’s Alberto Contador in last July’s Tour, hopes next year’s event will be untainted by the doping scandals.
“For all the good efforts and the good work that the (cycling’s governing body) UCI has done, they don’t always get portrayed in the media as they should do,” he said.
“Sometimes it seems being honest and doing a lot of controls is actually bad for the image of a sport. I hope that people realise that to work for the long term being transparent and honest is the best way to go.”
He said the drugs fight was slowly being won.
“They’re losing battles, but they’re winning the war I’d say,” he said.
Evans said he will ride the Olympic road race in Beijing but only considers himself an outside chance of toppling three-time world champion Michael Rogers for Australia’s spot in the Olympic time trial.
© AFP 2007