Friday, July 19, 2013

Exhausted Evans concedes it is all over

Dropped: Cadel Evans rides with the stragglers on stage 19.

Dropped: Cadel Evans rides with the stragglers on stage 19. Photo: AP

LE GRAND BORNAND: Cadel Evans conceded on Friday that he has no hope of success in this year's Tour de France, other than to finish the race on Sunday after finishing more than half an hour down on the winner of stage 19, Portugal's Rui Costa.

Evans (BMC), 36 and the 2011 Tour champion, said on Wednesday that he hoped to try and win a stage in the Alps to salvage something from his disappointing Tour.

But he was forced to re-evaluate that goal early into Friday's rain stricken 204.5km 19th stage from Bourg d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand.

Evans was dropped early in the stage that included five major categorised mountains, and eventually finished in the last group at 35mins 24secs to Costa and in 155th position from 170 survivors. Evans is now 36th overall at 1 hour 13 minutes to Tour leader, Chris Froome (Sky) of Briton.


Froome defended his lead again on Friday and goes into Saturday's 125km 20th stage - the last stage in the mountains from Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz - still leading Spain's Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) by 5mins 11secs and Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) by 5mins 32secs.

Asked how his day unfolded, Evans, who looked shattered as he finished, said he: "Started tired and it wasn't a good day to start tired."

Evans said that as he struggled to the finish he had Australian rider Stuart O'Grady (Orica-GreenEDGE) for company much of the day.

"I found my rhythm with Stuart O'Grady which was good company for a not so pleasant day. We rode to the finish in a group of 30 riders," he said.

"It was a very long and tiring [day] and certainly [it was] not the group I wanted to be finishing this sort of stage in."

Asked what was enjoyable about his day, Evans joked that: "I suppose the descents were fun. The views were nice. The people were out there enjoying the race."

But then the Victorian added in a serious tone: "Of course, I come to a race to compete and perform well in. Obviously at the moment I am not performing well, so in rational terms it's not very enjoyable."

Evans said he had not considered quitting the race, but holds no hope of a stage win in the Tour that ends on Sunday with the 21st stage into Paris.

"I don't expect any miracles and I came into this third week absolutely exhausted," he said. "At this point I just hope I can finish and get to Paris.

"If I can be of some help for my teammates that would already be something for me at this point. No expectations."

Twitter: @rupertguinness
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