Evans stays defiant despite day to forget
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Cadel Evans has described his Tour de France time loss on Stage 11 as “very disappointing”, but remains defiant about his title hopes.
The defending champion slipped from second to fourth on the overall standings after finishing 11th on an epic stage through the Alps.
He is now three minutes and 19 seconds behind race leader Brad Wiggins.
“On the last climb, I lost a very disappointing amount of time to my main rivals,” he said in a post on his website.
“Not something that pleases me in any way, (but) we continue on the same though.
“We still have a lot more racing to go, certainly being over three minutes down is long way from optimal – it’s far from over yet.”
Evans was stony-faced and did not speak to the media immediately after the summit finish at La Toussuire.
He and BMC teammates Amael Moinard and Tejay van Garderen made a bold attacking move on the Col du Glandon, about 84km into the 148km stage, and that put some rivals under pressure.
But Wiggins’ Sky team was able to shut down the attack.
Evans admitted he was lacking his best form.
“Tough old day today … mountains all day – possibly a chance for an early attack to work, and a solid pace from start to finish made for probably the most physically demanding day of this year’s race so far,” he said.
“We had a good early move going on the second climb … but I was not having my best day.
“So while (we) may have caused havoc behind, it was not a move to make any difference for the main GC (general classification) contenders.”
Soon after the stage, van Garderen talked up Evans’ ability to bounce back and BMC director John Lelangue promised to keep fighting.
“We will keep fighting until the last moment,” Lelangue said.
“It is getting more and more complicated.
“More than three minutes is complicated, now you have the time trial at the end.”
Whereas Evans knew he had an advantage in the time trial over Andy Schleck on the second-last stage a year ago, now Wiggins is the man to beat in that discipline.
But van Garderen was upbeat, saying Sky had also shown signs of weakness.
“It’s the first time that Wiggins was isolated and if we can do that again on the next mountain stage and Cadel’s legs come back to him, then anything is still possible,” he said.
“Cadel is mentally strong so he won’t let today bother him.”© AAP 2013
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