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Cadel Evans salvaged an up-and-down season with an historic win at the 2009 World Championships road race and he did it was a cheeky solo attack on the race's final climb with only 3 miles(5km) remaining. In August, Evans admitted that he expected to be fired by his Silence-Lotto team after finishing a massively disappointing 30th place in the Tour de France. After two successive second place finishes only the top step of the podium would have satisfied the rider, his team and fans, but it was not to be.
Then came the Vuelta a Espana where Evans was clearly one of the strongest, if not the strongest, rider in the race. However, an untimely wheel change on the stage to the mountain top finish at Sierra Nevada put paid to his chances for an overall victory. He publicly stated that his final finish in third place overall was satisfying, but when you have twice stood on the second step of the podium at the Tour those words seemed a bit hollow.
The men's 160-mile road race looked to be an Italy vs. Spain affair as these two countries have won the event eight times in the past ten years. With in-form riders like Damiano Cunego and Alejandro Valverde it looked like history would repeat itself before the race began. However, with the championships being held in Mendrisio, Switzerland and Fabian Cancellara being a home boy with a bit of form himself anything was possible.
It was Cancellara who provided most of the horsepower in the closing laps to bring the field altogether with one circuit remaining setting the stage for a flurry of attacks and it was Cadel's move which ruled the day. It was a great win for a rider who seems to have a love-hate relationship with journalists and the public. Will this career-defining win relieve some of the pressure on Cadel and allow him to be more relaxed when dealing with people? Hopefully so.
ps - the UCI took the first steps towards banning race radios from the pro peloton. It appears that the plan for phasing out the radios calls for several years before total elimination. However, this plan is strongly opposed by many of the pro teams managers and directors so this issue is a long way from being decided.
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