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2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC)
Former Tour winner "sorry" for Valverde
The 2011 Tour victor finished sixth in the chase group in 21st place, led home by Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) just over a minute behind stage winner, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step). Valverde meanwhile, tumbled from second overall to 16th, with Costa now in 18th. While Evans, who is hopeful of at least cracking the top-10 overall, was pleased to have moved up the classification, he would have preferred to have made the front split.
"I'm a bit disappointed I missed the final split," Evans said. "Moving forward a couple places is good, but I want to move forward a lot of places. But we have a couple of big days of racing over the weekend, so we'll see."
Evans remains 6:54 behind the race leader, Chris Froome (Sky) with the Australian saying that while he expected the move to come from Omega Pharma-Quick-Step in the cross-winds, the ramifications for Valverde and Costa came as somewhat of a shock.
"The first split there was a little bit expected," Evans said. "But the big thing was that Valverde had a really unfortunate puncture. I'm sorry for him. It's sometimes how it goes. It's happened to me as well in the past.
"The second split with Contador in front was a good move by them. They held back, they stayed calm and then they went and I think they got a much bigger element of surprise there," Evans continued. "At that point we were back with the yellow jersey but that was too far back as well and in the end there was a bit of a GC shake-up on a day we didn't expect."
The next shake-up of the GC is expected on Sunday's stage to Mount Ventoux.