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MAASTRICHT, Holland (VN) – Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) is still hoping to be in top shape to defend his title at the Tour de Romandie later this month despite pulling out of Amstel Gold Race with a cold.
Evans revealed that he’s been battling an infection for the “eight or nine days” and decided to abandon a cold and windy Amstel Gold Race with hopes of recovering in time for Romandie (April 24-29).
“I was not sure if I was going to be good enough and I was not able to help the guys in the final,” Evans said. “I am disappointed that I am not at the front with the guys.”
Evans said he is still hoping to ride Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège later this week.
“First, I want to get healthy, but it’s hard with these weather conditions and this hard racing, but I hope to come to around later in the week, at least to be able to help the guys,” Evans said. “I hope to be ready for Romandie.”
BMC Racing manager Jim Ochowicz said the priority is to allow Evans a chance to get back to full health, but he insisted the team is not worried.
“Cadel suffered a little bit from some health issues, a cold, nasal thing. He’s fine,” Ochowicz told VeloNews.com. “He’s not going to get worse. He’s stable. We are here for Flèche and Liège. We want to keep him healthy and motivated.”
The Tour de France champion was already taking pressure off himself coming into the Ardennes week, insisting that he was racing to help teammate Philippe Gilbert.
“I am here to help the guys and to try to help Philippe win again,” Evans said before the start. “I will be racing with him here as a teammate, but at the world championships later this year, I will be racing for Australia.”