Cadel Evans confirmed for national road race

Cadel Evans has confirmed he will start in Sunday’s elite road race at the Australian road cycling championships at Ballarat in Victoria.

The 2011 Tour de France champion gave the nationals a major boost late last month when he registered for the road race, but made it clear at the time he would not make a final decision on starting until much closer to race day.

“My training has been very focused in the last few weeks and I feel that I’m at a level that should hopefully enable me to be competitive on Sunday,” Evans announced on Thursday.

“I know it’s going to be hard work going up against the larger teams, but it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds and I’m looking forward to a good, solid hitout.”

It will will be the first time since 2005 that Evans has competed at the road nationals.

Evans’ racing program this year will focus on the May Giro d’Italia rather than the July Tour de France, resulting in an earlier start to his schedule.

Evans had earlier confirmed he would race from January 19 in the Tour Down Under in Adelaide.

He last competed in that race four years ago, after his breakthrough 2009 world road title.

The elite men’s road race on Sunday will feature a world-class field including fellow Tour de France stars Simon Gerrans and Richie Porte, along with Nathan Earle, Luke Durbridge, Simon Clarke, Matthew Goss, Matthew Hayman, Rohan Dennis, Steele von Hoff, Lachlan Morton, Jonathon Cantwell, Will Clarke and Jack Anderson.

The race is set to attract a capacity crowd as Evans joins more than 150 riders in the 183.6km event over 18 laps of the 10.2km Buninyong circuit.

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