Is Cadel Evans a chance to win the 2013 Tour de France?

Chris Kenner Roar Rookie

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    Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins will both be missing from the 2014 Tour de France.

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    In no uncertain terms this season stands as Cadel Evans’ best chance to win a second yellow jersey and secure what would be a famous victory at the 100th edition of the Tour de France.

    The 2011 champion indicated he is tracking well in 2013, with a third-place finish behind rival general classification riders Christopher Froome of Team Sky and Saxo-Tinkoff star Alberto Contador at last week’s Tour of Oman.

    Evans has returned to Europe to amp up his Tour preparation with this weekend’s Gran Premio di Lugano, a race dominated by Italian riders in recent times, including Grand Tour stage and race winner Ivan Basso, who scored a rare one-day race victory in 2011.

    The Gran Premio di Lugano will serve as a confidence booster for both Basso annd Evans ahead of a sold month of racing in March, with the Australian set to line up at the Strade Bianche, the popular Tirreno-Adratico and will return to the Criterium International to defend his 2012 victory.

    Last season, the 2009 world champion had his year turned upside down due to an ongoing illness that contributed to his seventh place at the Tour de France and withdrawal from the London Olympics.

    The third placing at the Tour of Oman proved the viral infection that plagued Evans 2012 is long gone, and a strong winter preparation has the former mountain bike racer back on the right path after six weeks off the bike.

    Evans spoke post Oman about how he had not fully recovered, but was in a good state for this time of the season and was excited to be back at the front of the peloton.

    Having turned 36 this month, Evans will no doubt be keen to prove he still has the drive to match it with the likes of Contador, Wiggins, and Froome, but one major threat looks to come from within his own team.

    The Australians understudy at BMC, American Tejay van Garderen impressed last season with his ability to lead BMC at the Tour in Evans physical absence.

    He finished fifth, claimed the white jersey for best young rider and had bosses at BMC rubbing their hands together with an obvious, seamless transition in front of them.

    Evans’ experience should play into his hands and future Grand Tour star Garderen will have to wait one more season to take the lead at BMC but the question over who rides for who is a reasonable one.

    It has become evident over the past couple of months that last season’s defending Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins is destined to focus on winning the Giro d’Italia, handing the Tour reins over to teammate Froome.

    Will BMC suffer the same leadership issues that Sky had to confront on stage 17 at last year’s Tour, when Froome looked set to ride off on Wiggins before being instructed to return and support the Wiggins through the final stretch of mountains?

    Contador’s return at the tail end of 2012 was timely, allowing the Spaniard the opportunity to ride and win the Vuelta a Espana and execute a winter schedule that would set him up for a big 2013.

    He showed his strength in the mountains alongside Froome, where Evans seemed to lack the staying power to finish 39 seconds a drift at the Tour of Oman.

    Is Evans a real chance to roll into Paris with yellow on his back? Only time will tell but you can’t ever write off his fight and grit to get the most out of his bike through the mountains of France.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • Columnist

      February 21st 2013 @ 1:57pm
      Sean Lee said | February 21st 2013 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

      Hi Chris, yep, you can never write Cadel off but it will be a tough ask. I’ve written a similar article that will appear tomorrow outlining the rivalry that is developing between Cadel and van Garderen. Interesting times ahead. I enjoyed your take on it.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 21st 2013 @ 8:52pm
        Chris Kenner said | February 21st 2013 @ 8:52pm | ! Report

        It’s an interesting and exciting prospect for BMC, I look forward to reading your article tomorrow.

    • February 21st 2013 @ 2:55pm
      rgmerk said | February 21st 2013 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

      On early form and last year’s results you’d have to rate Froome and Contador as the early favourites; but who knows?

      If Evans shows up in 2011 form, Froome in 2012 and Contador in, well, anything except 2011 form it’d be a hell of a race. If Contador showed up in 2009 form he’d blow everyone away, but I doubt he’s ever going to climb quite that fast again.

      • Columnist

        February 21st 2013 @ 8:44pm
        Elisha Pearce said | February 21st 2013 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

        “I doubt he’s ever going to climb quite like that again.”
        Depends what he’s got coursing through his veins.

        • February 28th 2013 @ 12:46pm
          JamesT said | February 28th 2013 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          the best form of alberto contador is 2005suisse, 2007tour, 2008season, 2009tour, 2010paris-nice, 2011giro, 2012milan-torin and now a full 2013season ahead of everyone..again and again!

      • February 28th 2013 @ 12:51pm
        JamesT said | February 28th 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

        i think robert gesink will win this giro this year ahead of wiggins nibali, sanchez and hesjedal will peak on june to try podium with contador and froome.

    • Columnist

      February 21st 2013 @ 9:45pm
      Lee Rodgers said | February 21st 2013 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

      Chris, interesting article, thanks!

      I remember Van Garderen doing the ‘look away’ on that Tour stage with the thumbtacks on the road last yea whej Evans had the puncture – I think that was a very telling moment. Tejay looks to be coming into his own more and more these days, and to be honest – and I know this might not be a popular sentiment over in Oz – I think we’ve seen the best of Evans.

      Third in Oman was not bad but it is just Oman, no one apart from Chris Froome, and maybe Evans, will have taken much note. Early season form is a sign of a good winter but can also be a sign of over-eagerness, or even desperation. I wish Evans does go well, he’s a great rider and good for more than one Tour victory, just a shame his era was so full of dopers…

      I think we’ll see the mantle pass to Tejay this season.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 22nd 2013 @ 9:53am
        Chris Kenner said | February 22nd 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        I think BMC will give Evans every chance to lead at this years Tour, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was any doubt over Evans fitness that Tejay would be given the nod.

      • Roar Guru

        February 22nd 2013 @ 3:52pm
        delbeato said | February 22nd 2013 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

        Let’s not forget that Cadel has podiumed numerous times at the Tour and other major races, while Tejay got a 5th. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Tejay go on to win, but at this stage he’s still a pretender to the throne. I think it would be dangerous to write Cadel off – if he’s on form, he will be at the pointy end.

      • February 22nd 2013 @ 11:22pm
        Aaron said | February 22nd 2013 @ 11:22pm | ! Report

        i think TJ will find it more difficult this year, with its summit finishes and less time trialing. he seemed to struggle on the really steep climbs last year, of which there are more this year, but of course, if he’s still riding let alone at BMC i doubt evans will be a leader in 2014

    • February 28th 2013 @ 12:41pm
      JamesT said | February 28th 2013 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

      I think future tejay van garderen rival is non other than white jersey rival thibaut pinot!

    • March 13th 2013 @ 9:09am
      pedrosnachos said | March 13th 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      You people are reading into TJ too much. When cadel is fit (not sick, returning from injury) cadel rips TJ’s legs off.

      TJ said it himself. Having said that every year TJ’s legs will harden up a bit and maybe, just maybe a few years from now he will be a serious contender. Watch him this year though – when the going gets tough i doubt we will be seeing him. he is still a virgin.

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