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Cadel Evans time-trials to second overall, eyes 2nd grand-tour win

SALTARA, Italy (VN) — Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) continues to show true grit in his Giro d’Italia fight. After a strong few days, the never-say-die Aussie time-trialed his way to second overall.

“Overall, it’s shaping up pretty well. … Things are finally starting to come together now,” Evans said after warming down and moving to the safety of the team’s car.

“A time trial always shows everyone’s cards. It’s a good point to be at this point of the race. The real Giro is just starting.”

With the “real Giro” starting and two weeks remaining, Evans finds himself second overall by 29 seconds. He arrived there by crafty racing in the last few days, always being present and not suffering bad luck.

Alex Dowsett (Movistar) won the time trial over 54.8km in 1 hour, 16 minutes and 27 seconds. Evans placed seventh at 39 seconds back.

He lost time — 29 seconds to Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and 18 seconds to new race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). However, he gained on Robert Gesink (Blanco) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp).

Evans apparently enjoyed the time trial.

“You sort of had, first third, rolling and undulating, and that was a bit like the Amalfi coast sort of thing. And then you had a couple of open sections and then two really steep climbs, that in such a long time trial is really quite taxing,” Evans said.

“Of course, you are always at your limit. … It was over 70km/h on the descent and the steep pitches there were really like the steepest climbs we have had so far.”

BMC Racing fielded Evans at the last minute so that he could build form ahead of the Tour de France. Evans said as much in the pre-Giro press conference, but indicated there could be more.

“If the bookmakers gave me no odds, that’s their mistake, not mine,” Evans said. “I only knew for a short time that I’d race the Giro, but I’ve worked as hard as I could to get ready.”

It appears that Evans maintains that same never-say-die spirit that earned him the 2011 Tour de France title after so many years of trying. The results today point in the direction of a possible second grand-tour win.

“On the classification, I think I am shaping fairly well,” he said. “I think it’s a good position to be in at this point; the Giro changes a bit from here on in.”

The press officer waved off more questions and sports director Fabio Baldato drove the team car towards their next hotel. Evans will look over the results Saturday evening, likely eyeing a Giro d’Italia win.