Grafton-born cyclist Craig Evers is tackling his sixth Grafton to Inverell, and despite a lack of training and being his first competitive ride back from a broken collar bone he is quietly confident.
Grafton-born cyclist Craig Evers is tackling his sixth Grafton to Inverell, and despite a lack of training and being his first competitive ride back from a broken collar bone he is quietly confident. Matthew Elkerton

ROCKY ROAD: Evers focused on the range

CYCLING: Grafton cyclist Craig Evers is ready to put a rocky few months in the rear-view mirror when he tackles the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic tomorrow, a mere three months after breaking his collar bone in a shocking race fall.

It has been a few months of turmoil for Evers, who was forced to withdraw from new team Philippine Continental 7-Eleven Racing Team after a lack of team insurance meant he could not get the required surgery on his clavicle.

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Instead Evers has now taken up the chance to compete in China without a team as he lives race win to race win.

But before he steps into the unknown in Asia, the 26-year- old is making his way back into the saddle in Australia's most gruelling one-day race over the Gibraltar Range.

"Coming into the Classic this year, although I have done next to no training, I am still confident about the race, and what to do and how to do it," he said.

"Since the accident, I have been resting and eating a lot of food and just enjoying myself, but now just getting back into cycling it has been a hard road but I am coming along."

Evers will represent Phoenix Racing Collective in A-grade in a race he had no intention of competing in only two weeks ago until a very special person gave him a push.

"The Grafton to Inverell has popped up a little bit soon in my schedule but I am ready to do the best with what I have got," he said. "At first I really didn't want to race in it. With the collar bone injury I sort of wanted to work my way back onto the bike at my own pace.

"But Mum really pushed me to do the race because she wanted to be involved in the event, and I guess you do what your mum wants."

It will be Evers' seventh attempt at the 228km cycle classic and, after finishing in the top 20 before, the Grafton boy is ready to turn tomorrow's race into a win.

But it won't be an easy task for Evers, who will have to compete with a few strong forces, including 2016 champion Patrick Lane and his Isowhey Sports Wellness race team.

"I am from Grafton, and to any cyclist from this town it means the world to take home that race," he said. "It is still evading me, but I do hope one day I can do it.

"Usually it is the front group that always evades me. I am usually in the second group, or I miss the move or something, but I have come a long way in cycling since my last attempt."