Cadel Evans admitted he was fighting fear as he descended from the Gavia Pass during stage 16 on Tuesday.

Evans was riding into sheets of snow with visibility being very poor and for once the Australian was fighting more than just the weather, he was fighting a fear for his wellbeing.

The 2011 Tour de France winner admits he likes riding in bad conditions but during that descent he really didn't enjoy it.

According to WA Today, Evans said: "I like extreme conditions; I normally perform well in them," Evans said of what was an epic day of racing.

"Over the Gavia, I was just thinking of my wellbeing. I wasn't thinking about the general classification. I was thinking, 'Where is Joaquim Rodriguez' [who crashed out of the Giro early] and of where I don't want to be – and that was lying in hospital."

"I had snow on my sunglasses. Then I took my glasses off and couldn't see because of the snow in my eyes. I love going downhill, but I am really scared when I can't see where I have to go."

After the Gavia the Giro route took them to the Stelvio Pass which has 36 switchbacks on its ascent and 48 on the descent.

With the conditions being so bad Evans explained how he couldn't even eat properly.

"The conditions [on the Gavia] were so bad, I couldn't eat properly. I started cramping up, which is ridiculous.

"But when you have four pairs of gloves and three rain jackets on you can't even get into your pockets [for food]."

The peloton believed the race at one point would be neutralised because of the conditions but it wasn't and Evans believes when it comes down to the welfare of the riders something must be done.

"They had an alternative course, which surely would have been better. We are on TV, but there are no special effects … no stunt doubles. It's us. It's our wellbeing. I know they want the drama and the spectacle.

"The Val Martello [climb] on its own – if you go absolutely flat out with the best riders in the world – is going to be pretty interesting racing. In May, to go over 2700 and 2800-metre altitudes – what are the chances in May that the weather will be good?

"The Gavia has the history and everything, but they are playing with people's health and the reputation of the Giro."

Evans is now ninth in the overall standings and with three stages to go it is unlikely he will make the time back, but with a time trial to come it is possible for the Australian to make up some time on his rivals.

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