Monday represents the race’s final rest day before its last six stages, and Sunderland feels Evans (BMC Racing) remains in a “pretty good position” despite having given up the pink jersey to Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
Evans trails Uran by one minute and three seconds following a tough stage 15 on Sunday, with Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) another 47secs back.
Uran extended his lead over Evans by 31secs on Sunday, as the 37-year-old Australian struggled to stay with some of his general classification rivals on Montecampione and crossed the finish line in 10th position.
But former CSC and Team Sky sporting director Sunderland feels his compatriot is still alive in this year’s Giro.
“I don’t think it’s fatal – not with (Uran’s lead) only a minute because, as we can see, the guys can lose, in one day, 20 or 30 seconds and the next day they can gain it back,” Sunderland told Perform on Monday.
“So I don’t think it’s fatal as yet but … he can’t afford to really lose much more than that.
“At this point, it’s still ok (for Evans), he’s still in a pretty good position but things will have to go his way (in the final week).”
The final week of the Giro will include three mountainous stages, plus an individual time trial straight up Monte Grappa in the Venetian Prealps, with flat stages on Wednesday and Sunday.
It is set up for plenty of twists and turns in the battle for the pink jersey.
“The way the course is in Italy, if you do have a bad day, it can be the end of your race, because it can be really bad,” Sunderland added.
“The climbs and the stages are so tough.”
Sunderland, who steered Carlos Sastre to victory in the Tour de France with CSC in 2008, believes Evans should not target a specific stage and should instead focus on pouncing when Uran looks weakest.
“He (Evans) just needs to stay vigilant, save his power when it’s not necessary and be very smart on the moves he makes,” the 47-year-old said.
With five riders within three minutes of Uran, including stage 15-winner Fabio Aru (Astana) and pre-race favourite Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Sunderland has predicted a tough final week for the current leader.
However, he still thinks the 27-year-old Colombian will “tough to topple”.
“I think he is riding quite smart. He’s given away a little bit of time to Quintana and Aru – and even to Cadel – he doesn’t panic and that’s very good to see as a leader in his position when you’re defending,” Sunderland added.
“Because he knows after the rest day, every stage is very important.”
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