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Evans returns for Tour de Romandie
06:16 AEST Mon Apr 23 2012

Cadel Evans will return from illness this week for his title defence of the Tour de Romandie, which starts on Tuesday.

The reigning Tour de France champion's preparations for cycling's greatest race suffered a minor disruption this month with a sinus infection.

The illness forced him to pull out of the Amstel Gold Race and the remaining Ardennes classics.

However Evans, who won the two-day Criterium International in Corsica last month, felt he was ready to return for the race he has won on two occasions.

"For sure it will be difficult to make the same result as last year, considering how I've felt in the last days," Evans said.

"With my infection, I won't be at the same level of competitiveness. But I hope to be there for the hardest stages.

"I will take it day-by-day. We will see how I feel in the first two stages, and then I will have a better idea of where my condition is."

Evans will share leader responsibilities with promising American rider Tejay van Garderen, who is rated as a future Tour de France contender.

The six-day race begins with a 3.3km prologue, features a mountain-top finish on stage four and concludes with a 16.5km time trial.