I need to improve before Tour, says Evans
Cadel Evans admits he has work to do before his Tour de France title defence following a disappointing slide down the standings in the Dauphine Libere.
Evans trailed Team Sky star and defending champion Bradley Wiggins by just a second heading into Thursday’s 53.5km fourth stage time trial.
But the Australian time trial specialist was left disappointed after finishing eighth to drop to fifth overall, one minute and 44 seconds behind British star Wiggins.
Triple Olympic champion Wiggins impressed to extend his advantage to 38 seconds over German Tony Martin.
“It was perfect for me, the course suited my style really well,” said Wiggins, who caught sight of Evans during his winning run on the course.
“When I saw Cadel in front of me, I didn’t give it a second thought. I was just concentrating on my ride.”
Australian Michael Rogers was third on Thursday and moved to third on the overall standings.
Evans’ performance left him with plenty to ponder ahead of the June 30 start of the Tour de France.
“I expected to do better, I’m a bit disappointed,” said Evans, who caused a minor sensation by dominating a three-man sprint to claim victory on the opening stage Monday.
“The specialists like Martin and Wiggins rode really fast. Now I have to go back and have a closer look at things. I still have improvements to make before the Tour de France.”
Wiggins, successful in the Paris-Nice and then the Tour of Romandie earlier this season, is using the Dauphine as a warm up for the Tour de France for which he will line up as one of the favourites.
But the Englishman said this week’s race was far from over.
“It’s a bit like last year, I have a good margin in my favour but there are three tough days to come.”
As for the Tour, Wiggins, who finished fourth overall in 2009 but crashed out on stage seven last year, said he expected a different challenge altogether from his main Australian rival.
“It’s another thing altogether, you can never forget that,” added Wiggins.
“Cadel is a champion and his form will be better come the Tour. Last year he wasn’t 100 percent at the Dauphine and he went on to win the Tour.”
For another possible Tour contender, Andy Schleck, it was a disastrous day in the saddle.
Already under pressure from his RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel to show his yellow jersey credentials after a mediocre season so far, a strong gust of wind caught the lightweight Luxemburger and his bike and dumped them at the side of the road.
Schleck lost more than 10 minutes to Wiggins while trying to get back into time trial position to finish the race, and later complained of a sore hand and wrist.© AAP 2013
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