Seizing opportunities

Cadel Evans moved back into overall contention after his great ride to La Toussuire. Tomorrow's...

An interview with Cadel Evans, July 19, 2006

Cadel Evans moved back into overall contention after his great ride to La Toussuire. Tomorrow's final stage in the Alps should suit him and the parcours could allow him to continue his rise up the GC. John Trevorrow caught up with Evans after his fourth place on stage 16.

Cadel Evans was pleased to reverse his mediocre Alpe d'Huez form - by his standards - and gain some time back on most of his main rivals, "I'm slowly trying to improve. I've had a couple of time losses in the Tour so far and to have another day like today would be good. [I will] just try to keep picking time off the GC [and] take opportunities when they come and make some when they don't," he said.

Q: How did you feel today, Cadel?

Cadel Evans: Good, today was a much better race for me. Yesterday when we hit the bottom of the climb, you saw the size of the peloton. It wasn't a very hard race until that point, whereas today I think there were 30 guys at the start of the climb. That style of race suits me and my physiology much better. Obviously I can do a better climb when everyone else is half dead. That was one thing, and yeah, I think this climb suits me a bit better. I actually seem to have lost a bit on my climbing capacities because I have worked a lot on my time trialling but that has been a little bit to the detriment of my climbing.

Q: That could be to your benefit in two days time?

CE:It could be pretty important since they announced 117 kilometres of time trialling in this year's Tour I thought it would probably become pretty important.

Q: When Menchov attacked and Rogers went with him and you went across, was that was when Landis got into trouble?

CE: I was surprised when he was behind me on the Col de la Croix-de-Fer and then he was always behind me and a long way back on Col de Mollard. I was a bit surprised about that, either he was really good and [was] just sitting back, [which is] a really big gamble but Floyd has taken big gambles before and they have paid off. When I got clear with Rogers and Menchov I thought it was a good move. Kloden might not have chased and I knew Landis [was in trouble].

Q: Were you surprised that it was T Mobile who chased it down?

CE: Well, T Mobile started the climb with five guys and when Mick went with the break I thought they [must] have felt it was advantageous to have Mick out there. It was very important because it meant everybody on the GC had to chase. I had to be there when Menchov was there because I am fighting for a place with him.

Q: Do you think tomorrow's stage will suit you?

CE: Could do. Hopefully I will be like I was today, so hopefully yes. We'll see how everyone hangs out and it's where the true Tour riders come to the fore in the third day of the mountains in the third week of the Tour. For everyone there, it becomes a completely different bike race. Physically, after three weeks of racing everyone is a bit tired.

Q: Talking about real Tour riders, is Pereiro a surprise to you?

CE: Yeah, I think now everyone will be regretting giving him half an hour back. Just giving him half an hour, like Here, have a Tour. Immediately after I wasn't comfortable about the situation. My comments were, 'he was tenth in the tour last year.' I remember the climb in the stage to Pau [when] he was in the peloton and there was a breakaway on the Aubisque. I was a minute or two minutes in front of the breakaway. He rode from the peloton, caught the breakaway and then caught me. Then he… sat in quietly and took some sprint bonuses for Landis, but to do that in the third week of a Tour de France, that takes some class. If he had done that on Alpe d'|Huez people would have taken more notice but it was very classy.

Q: This time last night what were you thinking?

CE: I was just a little bit disappointed, I hadn't gone as I had expected. I wasn't down or anything. I just thought that's strange. In the Pyrenees I was the first three or four climbers but yesterday it was probably 10 or 12. That's the way it was, I did everything in the race I could have done to get the best result.

Q: How do you as a rider handle all that's been going on this Tour?

CE: The press asks me what's going to happen? What's going to happen? That's the truth, I am just ready for anything in this tour. It seems everything has happened already, it might happen again tomorrow.

Evans was shown the GC sheet for the first time after the stage 16 finish and he looked at where he is in relation to Sastre and Kloden.

CE: Not bad, 27 seconds from third. Promising. Sastre - that was an incredible ride from him today. I was very surprised when he went away with Mazzeloni [with] Rogers chasing. Then [he went with] Kloden and Pereiro and when it got hard at the finish he was always 25 and 35 seconds in front and we didn't get any time back. Maybe I have underestimated Sastre a bit. I wanted to ride a bit more with Kloden and those guys at the end but Kloden started the last climb with five teammates and I lost mine early. I don't think it's unreasonable that I didn't work with them and at the finish I sprinted because Periero is going to go for the seconds then [so] I have to [also]. I would have liked to try and bring Sastre back but it's not my responsibility.

Q: Is it a bit early to start talking about the time trial?

CE: Yeah, it is, then it comes down to the third week of the Tour. First I want to rest up and recover and then I'll look at tomorrow.

Q: Out of the top five, it is open for anyone to win the Tour.

CE: Anything can happen in this Tour and almost everything has. So I won't say no.

Q: How is the team going?

CE: We were a bit unlucky, Brandt just crashed on the first descent today and he was the strongest guy in the mountains and Chris Horner is going a lot better. Chris seems to be getting back to his level. When the pressure is on he goes back and gets the bottles when it's difficult and stressful and it's draining to do so. If the guys just keep toughing it out for me that's all I can ask of them. Just help me when they can.

Q: Are there any symptoms you get to let you know how you are feeling in a race?

CE: Well, yesterday I actually felt good until the final climb. It's just the third week thing of the Tour. That's when Indurain with eight Tour's experience could count on that third week. It's the only way you can learn is by doing the Tours. [The] third week in the Giro and third week in the Vuelta [are] different.

Q: What did you think when Leipheimer went up the road?

CE: I thought he was biting off a bit much there because when Rasmussen has a good day he is pretty hard to bring back. I would have saved it for a bit later if I was him. Chris said [Leipheimer said to him that] was sick of just fighting for top 10; he just wanted to get out and have a go and good on him. Not a lot of people are doing that on the Tour.

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