29 Apr 19

Meninga happy to wait on Boyd

DAILY GRIND: Laurie Daley takes his first session as NSW coach yesterday. Picture: Getty Images SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 27: Blues coach Laurie Daley speaks to players during a New South Wales Blues State of Origin training session at Coogee Oval on May 27, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
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QUEENSLAND coach Mal Meninga promised to give Newcastle winger Darius Boyd every opportunity to play his 15th State of Origin in Sydney early next month but will rush Melbourne’s Justin O’Neill into camp today as his shadow.

Boyd joined the team announcement at Suncorp Stadium last night with his left foot in a moon boot after scans had earlier cleared him of a fractured ankle.

Meninga also confirmed Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans would join the camp as back-up for North Queensland star Johnathan Thurston, whose partner Samantha is due to give birth to their first child on June 5 – the night of the first Origin game in Sydney.

“We’ll give Darius every opportunity to play. He got a badly bruised ankle and hopefully with a lot of treatment early in the week he will be right to play,” Meninga said.

The Queenslanders had their fingers crossed Souths trio Greg Inglis, Ben Te’o and rookie Chris McQueen all pull up healthy after last night’s NRL clash with Cronulla.

Te’o could be a concern after being replaced with a leg injury in the first half.

“There may be a possibility we have to bring others in [to camp] but at this stage we’re keeping our fingers crossed our three guys get through tonight’s game against Cronulla,” said Meninga.

“We’ll check everyone out in the morning and make those decisions if we need to.”

Thurston was keeping details of the birth of his baby private but was confident of continuing his streak of playing in every game of Queensland’s record seven straight series wins since 2006.

Meninga confirmed that Cherry-Evans’s presence was mainly to cover for Thurston if he had to break camp or for some reason miss the game on Wednesday week.

“He’s there to cover JT just in case something does happen,” he said.

“I know John wants to be present at the birth and from a team perspective we’ll give him that opportunity. It’s his decision what he wants to do.”

Queensland captain Cameron Smith said NSW would feel the loss of utility Kurt Gidley, who was ruled out last night with ligament damage in his foot.

“Kurt’s a wonderful player and he was picked for his versatility for the mid-year Test [against New Zealand],” said Meninga.

“He’s got the most versatile game in the competition and can fill any position in the backline or play hooker or lock.”

Rookie NSW No.6 James Maloney will be Queensland’s number one target after beating Todd Carney to the job.

Asked if Maloney would feel the heat making his debut in front of an 80,000 home crowd, Meninga said: “Probably, I’m hoping so.

“He’s playing great football, he had been playing great football for the Warriors but he’s come up another level with the Roosters,” he said.

“The club combination with Mitchell Pearce makes sense to pick them as NSW halves, he’s got a good kicking game and he’s a great goal kicker as well.

“He’s a good support player and he adds plenty to their side.”

Emotions flowed at Suncorp Stadium as members of Queensland’s last non-Origin side to beat NSW 54 years ago stood side by side with Meninga’s current stars.

Meninga sprung a surprise on 450 guests at last night’s Origin dinner as members of the victorious 1959 Queensland series were introduced on stage along with his players to contest this year’s interstate series. AAP

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29 Apr 19

Newcastle Port tipped to be on ‘sale list’ 

THE Port of Newcastle is bound to be on the state government’s hit list of assets to be privatised to help pay for an $8 billion Sydney train line its top infrastructure advisers don’t support, the opposition says.
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And Treasurer Mike Baird yesterday refused to rule it out, saying the government would not engage in speculation ahead of the state budget next month.

It follows announcements in the last two budgets to privatise the state’s other ports – Botany, flagged in the O’Farrell government’s first budget, then Kembla, announced in last year’s budget.

Last month, the government said it had secured about $4billion in net proceeds for the 99-year lease of the two to a consortium of mostly Australian super funds and international investors.

The proceeds have gone into a fund for infrastructure, of which 30 per cent would be spent in regional areas.

In a speech to members of the shipping industry yesterday, Labor leader John Robertson said the government had its priorities wrong and was selling off revenue-generating assets to fund road and rail projects, leaving future governments without assets to borrow against.

It was only a matter of time before it looked for other assets to sell.

‘‘The day of reckoning when the Port of Newcastle is flogged off to fund the North West Rail Link cannot be far away,’’ he said.

The 23-kilometre rail link in Sydney’s north-west is expected to cost at least $8 billion, and does not have the backing of Infrastructure NSW chief executive Paul Broad or chairman Nick Greiner, who called it a ‘‘social equity project’’.

Mr Robertson also attacked the government over Mr Broad and Mr Greiner’s resignations, announced last week, as ‘‘the icing on what has been a very dysfunctional cake’’.

‘‘The Premier promised to take the politics out of transport by establishing Infrastructure NSW,’’ Mr Robertson said.

‘‘But he has put politics before policy.’’

More than halfway through the government’s term, no new projects had started, Mr Robertson said.

Mr Baird has previously said there were ‘‘no plans’’ to privatise Newcastle.

Asked yesterday to rule out its privatisation for the remainder of the government’s term, Mr Baird said; “As is customary at this time of year we are not going to engage in budget speculation’’.

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29 Apr 19

Cardinal’s apology ‘insincere’: victims

ADMISSION: Cardinal George Pell appearing at the inquiry on Monday. Picture: Joe ArmaoAUSTRALIA’S most senior Catholic did nothing to ease the pain caused by clergy sexual abuse when he gave an ‘‘insincere’’ apology, victims and their supporters say.
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Cardinal George Pell told the Victorian parliamentary inquiry he was ‘‘fully apologetic and absolutely sorry’’ for the abuse at the hands of clergy.

During intense questioning yesterday that lasted more than four hours, Cardinal Pell admitted that abuse had been covered up, documents destroyed and priests had been moved on.

A fear of scandal led to the cover-up and the primary reason would have been to protect the reputation of the Church, he said.

He also admitted a priest’s resignation letter had been backdated and made no mention of his crimes.

But Cardinal Pell denied personally being involved in any cover-up.

Victims and their supporters said Cardinal Pell was insincere, diverted blame to others and should resign.

There were scoffs and howls from the public gallery at some of the claims made by the Sydney archbishop and former Melbourne archbishop.

Stephen Woods, who was abused by a paedophile priest, was dumbfounded by Cardinal Pell’s claim that he acted in the best interests of victims.

‘‘The little care for the victims that he showed, showed that they still don’t get it,’’ Mr Woods said.

‘‘He needs to resign. His era is finished.’’

Leonie Sheedy, whose organisation represents people abused in orphanages, said a national public apology was needed.

‘‘I didn’t think the apology was sincere,’’ she said.

‘‘He kept saying over and over things are much better these days. Well, we are not having this inquiry about today.

‘‘We are having an inquiry into how they have neglected and stonewalled and denied that these crimes were committed against children.’’

Geelong priest Father Kevin Dillon sat with several victims at the inquiry and said they were unimpressed by Cardinal Pell’s statements.

‘‘They have been searching for a degree of compassion, understanding and support, and almost universally to the victims I have spoken to, they have been disappointed,’’ he said.

Anthony Foster, whose two daughters were abused by a priest, said there was no mea culpa from Cardinal Pell and he did not promise to do everything he could for victims.

Several hundred victims and their supporters attended the inquiry packing into the hearing room and a second room.

Cardinal Pell said he did not believe there was a culture of abuse.

‘‘I think the bigger fault was that nobody would talk about it, nobody would mention it,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t think many, if any, persons in the leadership of the Catholic Church knew what a horrendous widespread mess we were sitting on,’’ he said.

The inquiry is expected to deliver its finding in September. AAP

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29 Apr 19

Mines cop fines for blasting breaches

BLOWN: Dust allegedly from a coal mine shows bright orange in the air to the east of Jerry’s Plains.THE Department of Planning has slapped Hunter mines with thousands of dollars worth of fines for breaches of noise and blasting conditions.
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It has also launched a prosecution against Rio Tinto’s Warkworth mine for failing to minimise dust pollution.

The department’s actions follow sustained community calls for the department to become more proactive in enforcing mines’ conditions of consent.

The Herald has also highlighted concerns about each of the issues in recent months.

Integra Coal was fined $3000 for a 123.3 decibel blast which exceeded the 120 decibel sound pressure limit at its Camberwell mine on March 15, 2013.

The company has recently prepared a blast fume management strategy to improve its blasting practices.

The Mt Thorley Operations was fined $3000 for exceeding noise compliance limits by up to five decibels on March 13.

A Rio Tinto spokesman said the company was disappointed it had recorded a noise breach.

“We will continue to work closely with our neighbours and the NSW government as we improve the way noise is managed at Mount Thorley Warkworth mine,’’ he said.

The department also started prosecution proceedings against Warkworth in the Land and Environment Court for failing to minimise dust.

The department alleges that Warkworth failed to comply with a number of its conditions of consent in relation to minimising dust during high winds on September 5, 2012.

Warkworth is yet to enter a plea.

The Rio Tinto spokesman confirmed the court action.

“Air quality across the Hunter Valley was being affected by dry and windy weather conditions at this time and Mount Thorley Warkworth mine took a range of steps to minimise dust, including shutting down equipment and increased use of water sprays,’’ he said.

The Department of Planning’s Singleton office received 27 complaints during April, including 23 for noise, two for blasting and two for dust.

The noise complaints came primarily from Bulga residents.

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29 Apr 19

70 jobs to go at Mount Owen coalmine 

TRAIN TO NOWHERE: Falling production has led to more than 1000 mineworkers losing their jobs in the past year. THE coal rout is deepening with production cuts accounting for more than 70 new job losses at the Mount Owen open-cut mine.
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Mount Owen – midway between Singleton and Muswellbrook – is owned by the Swiss-based resources giant GlencoreXstrata and managed by contract mining company Thiess.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union district president Peter Jordan said 55 mineworker positions, six tradespeople and 12 contractors had been earmarked to go.

Figures show more than 1000 Hunter and Gunnedah miners have lost jobs since last year.

These figures do not include the jobs lost in downstream suppliers to the industry.

The Australian Coal Association says 9000 jobs have been lost from the NSW and Queensland industries in the past 15months and recent research indicates that at least half the coal leaving Newcastle is doing so at a loss.

Mount Owen has approval to produce up to 10million tonnes of coal a year and Mr Jordan said Xstrata was cutting production by 5per cent.

‘‘There’ll be a call for voluntary redundancies but I don’t think there’d be enough volunteers to accommodate those sorts of numbers,’’ Mr Jordan said.

On figures supplied by Xstrata the 73 jobs amounts to nearly 20per cent of the workforce.

An Xstrata spokesman said the Mount Owen cuts were a response to ‘‘difficult market conditions’’.

A spokesman for Thiess said Mount Owen was ‘‘decreasing total coal production by scaling back some of its operating areas in response to industry-wide pressures, including a lower coal price’’.

‘‘We appreciate the impact this will have on some of our employees and their families,’’ the Thiess spokesman said.

‘‘We are making every effort to proactively consult with the workforce to ensure they have a full range of support services.’’

Brisbane-based WorkPac, which supplies the 12 contract positions, declined to comment.

By confirming the production cuts, GlencoreXstrata is directly confronting the oversupply of thermal coal that is helping drive down prices to unprofitable levels.

Another Xstrata mine, Ravensworth underground, shed about 35 positions in October last year, although most of those affected were redeployed.

Whitehaven retrenched 40 Gunnedah-area mineworkers in March and Peabody’s Wambo open-cut shed about 40 jobs in July last year, citing ‘‘increased cost efficiencies’’.

Exports from Newcastle had been expected to more than double to nearly 300million tonnes a year by the end of the decade.

But the bursting of the minerals boom has thrown such predictions into disarray, with some major Hunter mining projects now delayed or under a cloud.

Port Waratah Coal Services put its controversial T4 loader on hold at the start of the month, saying revised forecasts mean the new loader is unlikely to be needed for at least five years.

One of the mines that would have fed that loader, Rio Tinto’s Mount Pleasant open-cut, is yet to be formally confirmed.

Figures from the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Co-ordinator, which oversees the movement of export coal, show production is still up on this time last year, with 55.9million tonnes of coal arriving at Newcastle, compared with 50.2million tonnes during the same period last year.

One of the major differences between this downturn and previous coal gluts is the presence of ‘‘take or pay’’ contracts, which mean coal companies must pay transport providers an agreed amount, even if they ship less coal than expected.

This effect, which is believed to be adding as much as $15 a tonne to coal production costs, discourages companies from cutting production in an effort to drive up prices by causing a shortage.

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29 Mar 19

Blueprints for new ASIO headquarters ‘stolen’

The ASIO site in Russell has been plagued by delays and budget blowouts. Photo: Graham Tidy The new ASIO building will not open until the latter part of this year. Photo: Jay Cronan
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The new ASIO building at night. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Blueprints for ASIO’s new $631 million building were stolen by someone in China when a computer system containing the information was hacked.

According to a report by the ABC’s Four Corners, the blueprints included floor plans and the locations of communications cabling, servers and security systems.

The theft of the blueprints occurred after hackers mounted a cyber attack on a contractor involved with building the new headquarters. They were reportedly traced to a server in China.

The incident, which has renewed calls for government agencies to make mandatory disclosures in the event they are hacked, is partly responsible for continuing delays in opening the new ASIO building, which was meant to have been operational last month, Four Corners reported.

Costs have so far blown out by $171 million and it will not open until the latter half of this year.

The lead contractor is Bovis Lend Lease, but there is no suggestion it was the organisation hacked.

The departments of prime minister and cabinet, defence, tourism and foreign affairs and trade – home of Australia’s overseas intelligence agency ASIS – have also been hacked, according to the program.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus declined to comment.

The cyber attack targeting the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reportedly involved the theft of a highly sensitive document by a foreign power.

A source told the program a Chinese foreign intelligence service was behind the hacking.

A separate source said that hackers had also accessed classified emails on the Defence Department’s restricted network, which connects the entire Australian military.

A separate attack on the Defence Department involved an employee sending a highly classified document from his desk computer to his home email account.

Hackers had targeted the officer’s home computer, allowing a copy of the document to be sent back to China once opened at home.

The hacking incidents, which are largely shrouded in secrecy, have reopened the debate on whether the government should impose mandatory data breach disclosure laws on organisations that have had a data breach.

A proposal for mandatory disclosure laws was included in a discussion paper released by former attorney-general Nicola Roxon in October 2012.

The discussion paper talks about organisations, companies and government agencies being forced to disclose breaches.

Alastair MacGibbon, a former Australian Federal Police officer who established its high-tech crime centre, said mandatory disclosure was necessary.

Four Corners also reported that Codan, a defence contractor based in Adelaide that designs and builds communications equipment for radio, satellite and metal detection applications, had also been targeted.

A spokesman for the company said it had beefed up its security.

The program said BlueScope Steel was a victim of a cyber attack about three years ago too.Follow IT Pro on Twitter

Know more? [email protected]南京夜网.au

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29 Mar 19

Swans wary of Bomber on red-hot run

Finding a replacement for the big hole left by injured key forward Sam Reid will not be Sydney’s only headache as the reigning premiers chase their first top-four scalp of the season against Essendon.
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The Swans are searching for a way to stop the red-hot run of Jobe Watson, whose form has some good judges tipping him to win back-to-back Brownlow Medals this year.

Watson, averaging nearly 30 touches a game, was a clear best-on-ground last week and ranks highly in key areas such as total disposals, uncontested possessions and centre clearances.

Sydney captain Kieren Jack rated Watson as up there with the best midfielders in the league.

“He’s certainly up there, absolutely,” said Jack, whose team have lost two and drawn one of their three matches against the current top this year.

“His inside work is without doubt one of the best in the competition.”

The Swans, through a three-man tag team of Jack, Jarrad McVeigh and Nick Smith, were able to limit Gold Coast champion Gary Ablett to a relatively quiet 24 touches.

A similar output this week from Watson would be considered a plus for the Swans, who have found the Essendon captain extremely difficult to nullify in recent seasons. The powerfully built Watson has polled Brownlow votes in five of his past six games against the Swans.

“He’s just a really big-bodied midfielder. He’s very similar to a Josh Kennedy,” Jack said.

“They’re big frames, they can probably play key position forward but they’re running around the midfield. They’re tough to mark, they’re tough to handle. We’ll certainly have our hands full.”

The Swans will need to restructure their forward line after Reid was ruled out until the bye at the earliest due to a quadriceps strain he suffered against Collingwood.

The young gun will miss the games against Essendon and Adelaide but the Swans are aiming for him to return in round 13 against Port Adelaide, which is also when prized recruit Kurt Tippett is tipped to make his long-awaited debut in the red and white.

Reid has kicked only seven goals this season but his defensive work is highly rated by the Swans’ match committee.

Jack said the youngster was in no danger of having to earn his spot back through the seconds after Tippett serves his ban.

“I wouldn’t have thought so. Sam’s a very vital member of the team. [He’s] certainly a talent and the work he does defensively and off the ball certainly goes unnoticed, but we see what he does,” Jack said.

“He’s very important structurally to us. He takes a key defender out of the way and is really good competing for the ball. We’ll need someone to stand up and take his spot.”

The door is now wide open for either Tommy Walsh or Jesse White to earn a senior recall.

Walsh bagged seven goals and White kicked four in the seconds last week but both have tended to struggle to make the the massive leap from the NEAFL to the elite level during their time at the Swans.

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29 Mar 19

Carney offers a timely reminder as Cronulla spring upset

todd carney Rabbitohs v Sharks Photo: John Veage
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Slipepry customer: Nathan Gardner steps inside. Photo: John Veage

Anthony Tupou takes the ball into contact. Photo: John Veage


Still smarting from his Origin axing Todd Carney fought back in style leading his Cronulla side to their fourth straight win in a match where Queensland interchange player Ben Te’o limped from the field late in the first half.

With Kurt Gidley ruled out of the first Origin, Carney threw his name up for a NSW recall after a match-winning performance. Possible replacement John Sutton didn’t finish the game, leaving the field with concussion in the final 15 minutes.

In sloppy conditions, Carney was the difference in a willing encounter where the Sharks toppled the top of the table South Sydney 14-12 at Sharks Stadium, minus Blues duo Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis who withdrew with injury. They were missing in-form fullback Michael Gordon too, in what was Cronulla’s most impressive performance of the season.

It was an uncharacteristically ill-disciplined performance from South Sydney who gave up an 11-3 penalty count and made 11 errors in a game where Carney kicked his team to victory less than 24 hours after being dumped from the NSW team in favour of Roosters five-eighth James Maloney. And his South Sydney counterpart Adam Reynolds almost matched Carney, placing immediate pressure on the first-time halves pairing of Maloney and Mitchell Pearce and, perhaps for the first time in Queensland’s seven year domination, NSW have a back-up halves pairing that is Origin ready.

While the rain poured down for the entire first-half, it was a high quality game between two strong forward packs, despite a handful of simple dropped ball. It was Souths who struggled in the wet conditions more than the home side, with unforced errors crippling their chances of sustaining pressure. Souths could have further problems with Sam and George Burgess on report for separate first-half incidents. George tackled Cronulla fullback Nathan Gardner with a high shot while Sam joined his brother for a crusher tackle on Andrew Fifita.

Te’o threw a scare throughout the Maroons camp after he limped from the field late in the first half. While the NRL integrity unit investigates claims that he assaulted a woman last month, it was a cork to his shin that looked to have threatened his Origin spot before he returned midway through the second half.

While Carney directed the Sharks around it was teammate Fifita who led from the front. The hulking prop justified his NSW selection, and put aside the distraction of being called to make his Origin debut and having to play despite knowing he was in the team, with a barnstorming performance playing 65 minutes broken only by half-time after starting from the interchange bench.

Cronulla struck first through hooker John Morris, before a well-timed Reynolds bomb was spilt by Sharks winger Sosaia Feki handing the Rabbitohs their first real attacking chance and they capitalised. A wide backline shift saw Bryson Goodwin score in the corner against his former club.

As Reynolds’ boot had done earlier, Carney’s right foot laid on the next points. An early tackle grubber bounced off John Sutton with Jayson Bukuya scoring to give Cronulla a 12-6 half-time lead.

Not to be outdone, Reynolds spotted Cronulla half Jeff Robson and launched Sam Burgess at his fellow No. 7. Initially Robson answered the challenge with a grass-cutting tackle on the big English forward but when Reynolds sent Burgess at him following a repeat set, Robson couldn’t contain him to level the score before a Carney penalty goal proved the difference.

CRONULLA 14 (J Bukuya J Morris tries T Carney 3 goals) bt SOUTH SYDNEY 12 (S Burgess B Goodwin tries A Reynolds 2 goals) at Sharks Stadium. Referee: Ben Cummins, Brett Suttor. Crowd: 12,243.

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29 Mar 19

Nine uncertain over deal

Channel Nine says it remains uncertain if it will match Ten’s $500 million bid to poach the rights to international and domestic cricket.
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Nine’s managing director, Jeff Browne, said the network was undecided about launching a counter-offer, with the Cricket Australia deadline next Monday.

He said money was not the only issue, and his network had had positive discussions with CA, despite industry speculation there were simmering tensions between the two parties.

Talks broke down earlier this month over the issue of domestic cricket, with CA lodging a writ in the Supreme Court of Victoria, due to be heard on Friday.

As reported by Fairfax Media, the writ is to clarify the status of the Big Bash League and whether it is subject to Nine’s last right of refusal – given this form of the game did not exist in Australia at the time of Nine’s last deal.

Nine sources labelled the legal case by CA a ”sideshow”, saying it was disappointed with the games being played by CA’s lawyers given the network has no interest in the BBL.

Ten’s five-year offer is understood to be worth $400 million for the international rights and $100 million for the BBL.

Nine argues it only needs to match the $400 million to retain the rights.

Nine’s two US-based hedge fund shareholders, Apollo Management and Oaktree Capital, have reportedly suggested they do not want Nine to bid for the rights but are willing to budge if they can be persuaded the investment is worthwhile. The network reportedly has new debts of about $700 million.

Nine’s nine-member board includes four hedge fund directors, and former federal treasurer Peter Costello.

Fox Sports has broadcast the BBL, but Ten is favoured to at least grab this even if the international rights remain with Nine. Ten has not ruled out on-selling some matches to pay TV.

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29 Mar 19

Evans, the great all-rounder, turns focus to Tour

Cadel Evans has the attributes needed to back up from claiming the first ever podium finish by an Australian in the Giro d’Italia and be a serious contender for the Tour de France, says former Irish cyclist Stephen Roche, who won both events in 1987.
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Roche, who also won the world road race championship in ’87, believes Evans has shown enough in this year’s Giro, which finished on Sunday, to indicate that while he is not yet at his peak, he is on the right trajectory towards the level required for the Tour, which begins on June 29.

Roche rates Evans’ consistency in all facets of grand tour racing as his greatest asset.

”Cadel has never been able to ride the [Alberto] Contadors and the Bradley Wiggins off his wheel. His strength has been consistency. He is very persistent and tactically very clever,” Roche said before the 21st and final stage of the Giro to Brescia.

Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) claimed the overall win, beating Colombian Rigoberto Uran (Sky) by four minutes and 43 seconds, and Evans (BMC) by five minutes, 52 seconds.

”He isn’t the best climber, he isn’t the best time triallist, he isn’t the best sprinter,” Roche said. ”But he is one of the best all-rounders because he can sprint, he can time trial, he can be up there on the high mountain finishes. He is very clever, and he can sneak into a break and he can calculate [read races].

”I’m glad to see he has his old legs again. His age is probably on the wrong side of the barrier, but he definitely has what it takes for the Tour this year.”

Roche said it was vital that Evans focused on recovering between now and the Tour. ”I finished the Giro very tired mentally and physically,” he said. ”It’s not so important how much you do [after the Giro], but it’s important what you do. Cadel has to make sure he stays fresh.”

Evans, who raced the Giro-Tour double in 2010, when his results were marred by illness and injury rather than form and ability, agreed with Roche. ”After my last experience [in 2010], I am not even going to think about training; it’s all recovery,” he said.

”I have one or two professional appointments [after the Giro], but every day is going to count. You really have to be careful about recovery. Four weeks passes so quickly.

”I still might have to go and see one or two stages of the Tour that I haven’t seen, but it’s not just days of training [lost], but days of travel don’t help you recover.”

Rupert Guinness covered the Giro d’Italia as a guest of Eurosport.

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