Cadel Evans suffered one of his worst days at the Tour de France, losing almost three minutes to the overall leaders on stage 16 from Martigny to Bourg Saint Maurice and realistically waving goodbye to his hopes at a third podium finish in a row.
"I'm disappointed for myself, but also of the team. They hoped to do well and so did I," said Evans on the Silence-Lotto web site. "I felt things hadn't been going well for the past few days. I hoped that it would go better. I could not do anything as Schleck attacked."
Evans was unable to respond when Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck launched his attack on the Col du Petit St Bernard. Evans finished 3:55 down on stage winner, Mikel Astarloza (Euskatel-Euskadi), and 2:56 behind a group containing the overall leaders.
Following the stage 16 result, Evans, who has finished second overall in the past two editions of the Tour, slipped from 14th place to 17th overall.
"I'm not sick, I need to talk to my coach and doctor about this failure. In the mean time, I cannot excuse myself to the team," said Evans.
The Australian has already begun to establish new objectives. He told De Telegraaf before the start of the stage 16 that he will start the Vuelta a España in August.
He will start the Spanish Grand Tour with a view to building form for September's world championships in Switzerland. Evans lives in the central European country during the season.
"I know the world championships course," he said. "It is more difficult than last year's in Varese. The Vuelta is the best preparation for the world championships."