Every opportunity and every chance: That’s what Team BMC must try and take of advantage of if they’re to win this year’s Tour de France and their performance on stage 13 was a clear indication that the hangover from La Toussure had cleared and that Cadel Evans’ dream of winning back-to-back Tours was not over.
The Australian’s aggressive accelerations on the lower slopes of the Mont Saint-Clair may not have split his rivals or caused race leader Bradley Wiggins a great deal of stress but BMC’s efforts had the majority of the peloton in pieces.
Heading into Mont Saint-Clair BMC placed several of their riders on the front. Riding in the gutter and with cross winds ripping across the roads, echelons were soon formed. It was clear that the tactic was ruffle Sky’s nerve and when Evans finally broke clear on the climb, although his gap was just a few meters, Wiggins was forced to cover the move himself.
"It was planned," Jim Ochowicz told Cyclingnews.
"We knew what we were going to do and we knew the route. We knew coming into the town you had to be in front and so we were aware of that. We wanted to be in the front so we put the guys in that position with about 10 kilometres before the saint Claire."
"Then Cadel went to the front and opened the gas to see if there was the chance to gain some time but that group stayed together."
For all the planning and the effort, BMC’s finished empty handed. However, Ochowicz and his team don’t appear to have given up yet. Evans is still an outside bet for the win, although a podium place at this stage looks like a more realistic aim.
"They’re just tests. We’re just testing. We have to keep testing otherwise we lose. If we don’t try sometimes even though it might not be the exact person, you never know what can happen in these races. We just keep staying on the front and we keep making the race happen the way we want to and we have to follow as well," Ochowicz told Cyclingnews.
"It was good that Evans could make the gap but then Wiggins had to close it by himself and don’t think he had anyone with him. I don’t see that as a negative thing. All but two stages, we have chances. We came here to defend the title and that’s what we’ll do."