Stepping up to the plate
Cadel Evans finished eighth in the Tour last year, and after a solid build up and the elimination (for various reasons) of five of the riders who finished in front of him in 2005, he is now a real contender. Cyclingnews' John Trevorrow spoke to the Australian on the eve of the Tour start in Strasbourg.
Cyclingnews: With the dramatic changes caused through the 'Spanish Inquisition', some of the favourites won't be starting: Basso, Ullrich, Mancebo, Vinokourov. How will that change the complexion of the race?
Cadel Evans: Now there won't be just three teams who will try and control the race. We will have to find out. It is going to be a different Tour. We are going to have to wait, get out on the road and see. The obvious thing is that there won't be some of the strongest teams who would control it for their leaders. T-Mobile will have to do what they can with Klöden and CSC with Sastre.
CN: When you heard that Basso was gone, Ullrich was gone, what was your first reaction?
CE: Just that the cheats have been caught. If they have cheated then they deserve to be out.
CN: You had already been touted as a podium contender, but these withdrawals change the opportunities for you now. Do you feel more pressure on you now?
CE: I don't know yet. We'll find out in the race. But if you do your maths, yes. Take out the five who are not in the race anymore, that will put me into third or fourth. Importantly (it will) in terms of being a contender. So...mmm
Click here for the full interview.