First timer: Cadel Evans has never done the Mount Buninyong run.

First timer: Cadel Evans has never done the Mount Buninyong run. Photo: AFP

Cadel Evans' move to enter the Australian national championships for the coveted road race title is by no means a sign the Tour de France hero would be in it to win it.

That is the view within the professional Orica-GreenEDGE camp, which is planning to dominate the event again, aiming for a winner in the long men's event for a third consecutive year; this time with a Simon Gerrans-led army of 10.

While Evans registered in December for the 183.6-kilometre event to be raced on Sunday, it is no guarantee he'll be on the start line for the punishing annual contest around Mount Buninyong.

Evans has said his form, and his professional BMC Racing team, will determine whether he undertakes the exercise before the Tour Down Under later this month, and a longer-term focus of winning the Giro d'Italia in May.

Orica-GreenEDGE sports director Matt Wilson, the former pro who called the shots for the team at last year's nationals in the men's road race, said he would be surprised if Evans won. ''Just because it's January and I don't even know if he's ever raced around that circuit before. I mean, he's an amazing rider, and if he was in the breakaway you'd never count him out; but if he won I'd be surprised,'' Wilson said after Orica-GreenEDGE won the men's teams classification in the Bay Cycling Classic on Sunday.

In the two years Orica-GreenEDGE has existed, the Australian World Tour team has claimed 10 of the 12 national titles up for grabs between their male and female riders.

Luke Durbridge, who on Monday moved to dispel doubt that he might not defend his time trial crown on Wednesday due to illness, was last year the first to win the elite men's time-trial and road race double.

Gerrans, now a veteran in the Orica-GreenEDGE stable, won the road race title in 2012.

In a battle increasingly influenced by weight of team numbers, Orica-GreenEDGE has entered 10 men in the elite road race this year. Evans, in contrast, would be one-out should he start.

While acknowledging the obvious benefits of a headline act featuring, Wilson said Evans' mere presence was unlikely to influence how the race actually unfolded.

''I mean, it's great for the race, it's great publicity and everything, but as far as how the race is going to be run, no, it doesn't change anything. Cadel's a strong rider, but we're looking at him just like any other strong rider in the race.

''Especially in January, Cadel's not going to be at his best form, so we'll go into it with a race plan similar to the last couple of years.

''We've got a smaller team than we've had the last couple of years … that changes the tactics a little bit. Obviously Drapac has a bigger team than they normally do, but we're pretty confident. A lot of our guys have got good form.

''It's not just 'Gerro' [Gerrans]. We've got a lot of guys going pretty good. And obviously with Gerro we've got the biggest card as well, so we're confident. But we'll see.''

Richie Porte, who won Paris-Nice last year, also features on one of the strongest entry lists seen at the nationals.