Evans relieved as Tour ends

2008-07-28 07:37

Paris - For Australia's Cadel Evans, the Olympic road race in Beijing is already too far on the horizon.

For the immediate future, the 31-year-old wants to concentrate on winding down at the one-day criterions which follow the end of the Tour de France - and then put his bike to rest.

Evans' overriding feeling was one of "relief" on Sunday after he finished his fourth Tour campaign with an impressive fourth top ten finish.

Yet his second consecutive runner-up spot, a year on from losing the yellow jersey by 23secs to Spaniard Alberto Contador, must have hurt.

"No, my overriding feeling is one of relief," said Evans, who finished 1:05sec behind Spaniard Carlos Sastre following Sunday's 21st stage into Paris.

After a year of meticulous preparation which has included up to seven hours of daily training in the mountains, in all conditions, Evans' yellow jersey bid unravelled over two crucial days.

The CSC team of Sastre was boosted by the experience of Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voigt, driven by the Swiss power of time trial king Fabian Cancellara and was unbeatable in the mountains where the formidable climbing powers of the Schleck brothers Andy and Frank, and Sastre, were unmatched.

'It's not an easy task'

In the end, Evans - on his own for most of the race's crucial climbs - was regularly fighting one against three.

"It's not an easy task when you're racing against a team that has three guys who are attacking you," Evans said on Saturday after failing to overhaul his deficit of 1:34sec to Sastre during a 53km time trial.

Evans' dream of winning the race took a major step forward when he pulled on the yellow jersey in the Pyrenees.

The 10th stage to Hautacam, won by Italian Leonardo Piepoli, saw the Aussie take the race lead by just a second ahead of Sastre's CSC teammate Frank Schleck, Luxembourg's national champion.

Despite being in the theoretical position of having to work to defend his lead, Evans' team were in heaven.

"Everyone says we don't have the team to win this Tour, but Cadel is there," team manager Marc Sergeant said when Evans took the yellow jersey.

"Our leader is good, and we're going to help him as much as we can."

Relegating

That help, however, was conspicuous by its absence in the crucial mountain stages, where CSC often had strength in numbers.

Schleck finally took the yellow jersey, relegating Evans to 08secs on the climb to Prato Nevoso in Italy. With Sastre a further 41secs in his wake, the Australian maintained that his biggest danger was Russian Denis Menchov.

Schleck kept the jersey until CSC team manager Bjarne Riis put Schleck and Sastre in a bedroom and told them that either one of them would have to decide who was going to fight for the jersey.

Sastre, with an impressive 16 Major Tours behind him and a better time trialler, won the argument and on the final alpine stage to Alpe d'Huez the Spaniard flew off the front at the bottom of the 13.8km climb.

He won with a 2:15 lead on Evans, giving the Australian an overall deficit of 1:34 going into the penultimate stage time trial.

Evans, obviously worn down after his efforts to keep pace with the incessant pace of CSC, finally relented.

"I'm not devastated, just very disappointed. I felt like I rode a good time trial," said the Australian on Saturday.

In the end, the words of Scott Sunderland - one of the CSC team's managers - were prophetic.

Two days before Sastre's impressive time trial ride, the former Aussie pro was adamant his team had done everything right.

"It's not just (about) having the yellow jersey in Paris. It's how you do it, how you approach it, defend it and what you do in the race," he added.

"To be honest they (Silence) didn't deserve the yellow jersey. It wasn't that Cadel didn't deserve it, but the team didn't deserve it because they couldn't defend it."

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.