Tour de France
Longest Day Not An Easy One
Cadel Evans and the BMC Racing Team had hoped to enjoy a rest bit of sorts Friday at the Tour de France. But a fast start and two hard climbs in the first 80 kilometers of the 226 km race changed all that, the race's defending champion said.
'Sort Of A Strange Tour'
"Sometimes a long day means the group races a little bit easier but that wasn't the case today," Evans said. "It's been sort of a strange Tour with so many big climbs, and quite hard climbs, so far from the finish. Like Sky, when they're in the mode of defense, has designed a team for that. It really does put a lot of people on the limit from the start." One day after slipping two spots to fourth in the overall standings, Evans rode in the shadow of race leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) before sprinting to ninth. David Miller (Garmin-Sharp) took the stage win in a two-up sprint against Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale) after the pair rode in a five-man breakaway for more than 120 km.
The overall standings remain unchanged in the top 10, with Evans trailing Wiggins by 3:19. Evans said he doesn't regret attacking so far from the finish on Thursday's stage. "Someone had to try and do something and no one else was going to do it," he said. "So it was sort of left to me. Being fourth on general classification is not a position I am happy with."
Van Garderen Still Best Young Rider
Teammate Tejay van Garderen kept his lead in the best young rider classification and remained seventh overall, 6:57 behind, after finishing 21st on the stage. Van Garderen agreed with Evans that the stage was a bit unusual. "The peloton was in pieces for the first 100 km," he said. "After that, we kind of settled in and were just lazy out there. We were just cruising in to the finish because I think nobody really had the legs to go." Van Garderen said the difficulty of Saturday's 210.5 km stage which features only one categorized climb could be dictated by the weather. "It depends on what the winds are doing," he said. "We finish on the coast so it could be echelons, which we have to be careful for. But we have a good team for that and they'll do a good job of protecting us."