By John Trevorrow in Loudenvielle
Cadel Evans lost more time in the second Pyrenean mountain stage to Loudenvielle, where he was isolated and eventually ridden off the wheel of the yellow jersey thanks to constant attacks from Discovery Channel's white jersey wearer Alberto Contador. "I was in the position at 12km to go and then, those guys combined against me yesterday, what with Astana and Discovery behind, well, unfortunately I had to race a little conservatively.
His team-mate Chris Horner was the last to be able to hang with the pace, but was dropped before he could help his leader in the crucial moments. Evans was then left to play it safe and ride the wheels. "It's not what I wanted to do but I was completely on my own, it was up to the other guys to work it, but what am I supposed to do when I am on my own, everyone else had a team-mate."
Evans, who rode like a yellow jersey contender on stage 14 was left fighting for what appeared to be just a podium spot in Paris. "Unfortunately yes, but you have to play the cards your dealt. Twelve km from home and I am on my own, what am I supposed to do," the Australian complained. "Today I rode to conserve a little. Unfortunately the team hasn't got the budget to hire a rider who can close those gaps for me."
After two weeks of racing and two tough mountain stages, the Predictor-Lotto rider is keen to have the rest day, and then on to his final goal - to be the first Australian on the final podium of the Tour. "I am ready for a rest. I would be very happy with that [podium spot]. But there's still a bit of racing to go. We'll just have to see."