Freeman Cebu Sports

Cadel Evans is the new WC!

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta -

Australian Cadel Evans is often described as the most successful pro cyclist who has yet to win something big. Evans started out as a mountain biker who gravitated to road racing. In 2002, he almost won the Giro d’Italia, had he not collapsed spectacularly the day after taking the Maglia Rosa. Maybe because of that “almost”, he was perceived as rider “with potential”. But talent and potential alone doesn’t win you races, you need a certain amount of luck, which for one reason or another, which Evans had a short supply.

While he was with TELEKOM, he broke his collarbone twice in one season. He lost the 2007 Tour to Alberto Contador by 23sec and as the favorite the following year, he lost to an inferior Carlos Sastre by 53sec. He was a favorite in this year’s Tour but finished a disappointing 30th. Just last month, he lost his chance in the Vuelta a España after getting a flat tire during the most critical part of the race.

The irony of cycling is that the fans love its heroes when they lose. A classic example is Frenchman Raymond Poulidour, lovingly called as the “eternal second”. He stood in the Tour podium eight times but never as a winner, yet he was adored more than his rivals who had 10 Tour wins between them - Jaques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx. But Evans was never loved by the fans. He is a whiner and has an adversarial relationship with the media. For every loss, he was ridiculed and for every little wins in-between, he was considered as someone who could not win the big one. I think the reason for this is his racing style. He has no “panache”. He is a “wheelsucker”, meaning, he takes advantage of other rider’s work to win.

Going into the World Championships in Mendriso, Switzerland, Evans wasn’t even one of the favorites in the road race. But unlike the Tour, which is a 3-week chess game, the WC’s is a one day, 7-hour battle royale of more than 250kms, therefore, anything goes. Also, the race is between nations, not trade teams.

Traditionally, the strongest teams in the WC’s are the Italians, the Dutch, the Belgians and the Spaniards. What happens in most one day races where there are 3-4 dominant teams that tend to cancel each other out. And that’s what happened 2 weekends ago. I’m not saying that Evans won because the stronger teams were watching each other, he won because suddenly changed his spots into an aggressor, attacking at the most appropriate time.

I have never been a fan of Evans but I hope that he will continue the same attacking strategy next season. Maybe, he will really be a true favorite against Armstrong and Contador in the 2010 Tour, maybe the world will now look at differently at Evans or maybe not. But the fact is that he will now be forever called a world champion, a feat not accomplished (yet) by Alberto Contador, and the first Aussie to do so. Hopefully, he can win the jersey he covets the most, the maillot jaune.

Talisay Fiesta Race

Congratulations to the City of Talisay, Councilor Ronnie Capala, Judge Mario Manayon, Cenon Tan, Ames Urgel, Kimpee Canasa and all the people behind the 2009 Talisay Fiesta Crit for a very successful event! This race is special not only because it is held at the wide South Coastal Roads but because it’s the only race in Cebu where roads are closed for a bicycle race.

As far as my race was concerned, I tried an attack with about a lap and a half but the peloton was so strong today that I was gobbled up in just half a lap. In fact, moving up to the front took a lot of energy. But it didn’t matter because the race was so much fun.

Finally, don’t forget the out of town race this weekend, the ORMOC CITY MEDICAL SOCIETY ROAD AND MTB RACE. Contact person for this race is Dr. Jaime Gatchalian. You can reach the good doctor @ 0928-507-2427. -  THE FREEMAN

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