Simon Gerrans.
Simon Gerrans. Aap Images

Cadel Evans backs Simon Gerrans to be on top Down Under

CADEL Evans has never won the Tour Down Under and Australia's 2011 Tour de France champion is not backing himself to end that drought next week.

Evans has ridden in the week-long event in South Australia eight times, and has tasted some success, winning the king of the mountain title in 2002 and 2006 as well as the best young rider jersey in 1999.

But the BMC team leader has never won the overall title, and despite being the highest-profile rider competing this year, the 36-year-old says fellow Aussie Simon Gerrans was his tip to win.

Evans knows Gerrans is in top form after finishing second to him in the national road racing titles in Victoria on Sunday.

"Simon will be the man to beat at this point, but it's hard to say," he said. "The first international race of the year and who knows what sort of winter some of the European riders have had.''