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2011 Tour champion Cadel Evans (BMC) started his title defense with a 13th place prologue time trial result.
Defending Tour de France champion content with time trial result
Cadel Evans (BMC) was the last rider to get underway in the 99th edition of the Tour de France which began today in Liège, Belgium with a 6.4km prologue time trial. Last year's winner went smoothly through the few sharp corners and developed a lot of power on the twisting course through the crowd-packed Belgian town. Halfway into the parcours the Australian was even one second ahead of GC-rival Bradley Wiggins (Sky) but he couldn't keep up that high rhythm through to the finish.
Evans faded towards the finish line at the Parc d'Avroy and eventually lost ten seconds on his British rival for the general classification, finishing 17 seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan).
"This isn't really my thing," Evans said while cooling down on the rollers. "It's not my speciality. I didn't want to lose time and it wasn't too bad. I expected to lose time on GC-riders. I've lost a couple of seconds on specialists like Wiggins. This was good to normal to me.
"We've got the Tour started. That's the first thing and now I've got to keep going."
On Sunday the peloton will tackle a mini-edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in a stage that finishes on a slightly uphill finish in Seraing, a town in the heavily industrial area southwest of Liège. Due to his time loss on Wiggins the Australian might opt to make a first effort to gain some seconds back on the Sky-rider but Evans stated that the outcome of the prologue didn't do much to the team's original plans.
"It doesn't change much. We're a bit away from the yellow so we're a bit calmer in that regard. We'll take the stage like we would anyway. Of course we'll do what we came for, whether that's for time or the result in the stage. We go in with the same mentality," Evans said.