SAINT-ETIENNE: Cadel Evans may want to continue racing next year, but whether he does it with BMC, who he is off contract with, is not guaranteed.
BMC team principal Jim Ochowicz said on Thursday he was aware of Evans’ wish to ride next year, and include in his schedule the new UCI-sanctioned one day race at Barwon Heads, Victoria, which is named after him and is to be held in February.
However, speaking after stage 12 of the Tour from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint Etienne, which was won by Norway's Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Ochowicz said any new contract between the team and 37-year-old Evans needed further brokering.
Ochowicz said he had spoken with Evans “a couple of times” during the Tour, which Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) led after 12 stages by two minutes, 23 seconds on Australian Richie Porte (Sky) in second, and 2.47 on Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in third.
But he planned to resume talks face-to-face with the 2011 Tour winner at both the Tour of Utah in the US and Vuelta a Espana, which Evans is due to race in.
“I’m going to see Cadel in Utah and then we have got the Tour of Spain, so we are going to be talking about a lot of this stuff,” Ochowicz said.
“It’s no secret. I know he wanted to do this race and he wants to participate in it.
“So there is a dilemma there in terms of that he has to be on a team [to do that]. We are going to talk about that.”
When Ochowicz was told Evans had recently indicated he wanted to race the entire season next year – and with BMC, he replied: “Yeah … Again, that is all how you interpret what he is saying, and whether it is reality or not that we – or any other team – can do that yet.”
Asked how long it would take for an agreement to be made, Ochowicz said: “The idea is to finalise something before the end of the year in order to do something correctly.
“That’s why we’re going to talk in Utah and why we’re going to talk in Spain.”
Considering the history between Evans and BMC, who he joined in 2010 as the reigning world champion, it is hard to believe an agreement can’t be made.
But with Evans off-contract and BMC pinning their future grand tour hopes on American Tejay van Garderen, who was sixth overall in the Tour at 3.56 to Nibali after 12 stages, the challenge of negotiating the devil in the detail of a new contract can’t be underestimated.
On Thursday, in Australia, Evans said: "Obviously there are other teams that I could go to.
“But we've created a lot at BMC. I went and joined BMC when they were a small continental team and we built up with a hope to go to the Tour de France one day.
“And within two years, I think, we won the Tour de France.
"I'll certainly be riding, and in BMC colours, at these races next year.
"I think to finish my career with them would be the right thing to do."