Cadel Evans hints that Chris Froome's Tour de France dominance could be over

Former winner still sees Team Sky leader as the man to beat

Cadel Evans has been there, done that, and still wears the BMC Racing T-shirt, so if anyone can offer Richie Porte advice on how to win the Tour de France, it's perhaps the 2011 victor.

As Porte took centre stage at his pre-race press conference in Dusseldorf on Thursday, Evans watched on from the back of the auditorium. As the only Australian – and the only BMC rider – to ever win the Tour de France, his take on his countryman's chances were one of the most sought after opinions once Porte and his teammates brought the curtain down on their event.

The first question Evans faced was how he would take on three-time winner Chris Froome, who heads into the Tour on the back of a less-than-convincing season. The Team Sky rider finished fourth in the recent Criterium du Dauphine with Porte outclassing him in both the time trial and in the mountains.

"First you've got to get to the mountains and the places where you can take him on. I would concentrate on that first, but Chris is the man to beat in this year's Tour and he's proven that with his results that he's the best Grand Tour rider of this generation or certainly over the last four years," Evans opened with.

Despite Froome's experience, the reality is that he has not won a race during this calendar year. Porte, on the other hand, has won the Tour Down Under, the Tour de Romandie and taken a stage and second overall at the Dauphine. Even Froome has anointed Porte as the Tour favourite, and while Evans went on to win the Tour at the ripe age of 34 he did open the debate as to whether Froome's powers, at the age of 32, were beginning to wane.

"He's not a year younger, he has another year of experience but it's not going to last forever and that's where Richie is coming into his prime and now is the time that Richie needs to think about taking him on."

Of course, Porte is the same age as Froome but Evans added that his countryman came through the ranks at a later stage. That said, Evans added that he expected Froome to make significant improvements on his Dauphine form.

"What people forget about Richie is that he came into the sport quite late. So relative to the results he was getting he was a little inexperienced about five years ago but now that he has that under his belt… he and his team have been consistent and solid all year around. So they come here physically and mentally prepared.

"Froome has the experience and he knows how to come up to the Tour as well. He's also getting older, he's had some changes in his life, become a father and so on. People change over time, both physically but also externally and the environment that they live in. If you take those things into consideration, I expect him to be at the same level as he was last year at the Tour. We're going to see a different Chris Froome here to the one we saw at the Dauphine."

Evans' advice for Porte was simple: "Stay calm, enjoy the race and do your best."

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