Daily Diary: Brad Evans talks Tour des Fjords – Stage 1

By Aaron S Lee

NZ Bike chats with Tour of Southland champion and Tour de Korea stage winner Brad Evans to get his thoughts on his Tour des Fjords opener.

BERGEN, Norway— Reigning Tour of Southland champion Brad Evans (Drapac Pro Cycling) is hoping to defend his championship following another crack at the Tour of Hainan (UCI 2.HC) in October when the 24-year-old Kiwi hopes to continue to impress since being called up from Drapac development team, Pat’s Veg, mid-season.

Just days after being promoted to the Australian-registered UCI Professional Continental team, Evans, who is featured in the latest issue of NZ Bike, claimed the first pro win of his young career on the final stage of Tour de Korea (2.1) in June.

Now with Drapac merging with Slipstream WorldTour squad Cannondale, fewer openings will me fewer jobs for existing riders once their contract runs out this season.

While Evans claims he has yet to hear any news regarding his employment next year, he is admittedly looking for opportunities this week while racing with his five teammates at the fourth edition of the five-stage Tour des Fjords (2.1) in Norway this week.

Evans is joined by former WorldTour alum Will Clarke (AUS), along with Clarke’s compatriots Adam Phelan, Brenton Jones and Sam Spokes, as well as Dutchman Peter Koning. Following Norway, Evans told NZ Bike he is aiming for a return to Hainan and focusing on a successful title defense at Southland.

Evans’ diary entry: Stage 1 – Osøyro to Bergen, 142km
It was certainly a little bit difficult out there today. I didn’t actually find the weather too bad, more of just trying to see really. Just the amount of rain, you’ve got two options and that’s to take your glasses off and have rain coming into your eyes, or you try to put them on and they start fogging up. It’s lose-lose really, so I sort of struggled with that.

Some the technical aspects of the course were pretty hard as well. The final 23km is actually a part of the 2017 UCI world road race championships next year, which is kind of special. However when we hit the circuit after riding nearly 120km in the rain, we took a wrong turn, due to missing signage apparently.
There was also a crash, and some of the guys behind took the right way and it ended up being a complete mess. The field basically reversed itself. Plus there were some oncoming cars still on the course in the closing kilometres. Race officials did warn us prior to the race to beware as the area is not used to hosting events of this magnitude.

Congrats to Australian Leigh Howard on the win.

Tomorrow we will be out there trying to create as many options as possible. This is the last race for Drapac in Europe this year, so we will all be very motivated. I’m going to lead out our sprinter Brenton Jones (AUS) if we get an opportunity and getting into a break will be my own personal goal, which may be my chance to go for a result.
Until next time, stay tuned…
Brad Evans

Stage 1 Classification
1. Leigh Howard, AUS, IAM Cycling, 3:27:18
2. Jesper Asselman, NED, Roompot-Oranje Peloton, 0:03
3. August Jensen, NOR, Team Coop-ØsterHus, 0:06

General Classification
1. Leigh Howard, AUS, IAM Cycling, 3:27:18
2. Jesper Asselman, NED, Roompot-Oranje Peloton, 0:07
3. August Jensen, NOR, Team Coop-ØsterHus, 0:12

Classification Winners
Race Leader (Uno X Yellow Jersey): Leigh Howard, AUS, IAM Cycling
Points Leader (Coop Blue Jersey): Leigh Howard, AUS, IAM Cycling
Mountains leader (Santader Polkadot Jersey): Carl Fredrik Hagen, NOR, Team Sparebanken Sør
Best Young Rider (Repsol White Jersey): August Jensen, NOR, Team Coop-ØsterHus
Most Active Rider (Salmon Jersey): Carl Fredrik Hagen, NOR, Team Sparebanken Sør
Teams classification: IAM Cycling, 10:22:06

Aaron S. Lee is a cycling and triathlon columnist for Eurosport and a guest contributor to NZ Bike Magazine.  Image credits: Mario Stiehl.
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