By Jean-François Quénet in Valloire
Cadel Evans usually rides the Tour de Suisse in preparation for the Tour de France, but he chose the Dauphiné this year - a choice that has clearly been a good one. Evans sits in second overall with one stage remaining, only 14 seconds behind Christophe Moreau. "So far it's been good, but it's only the Tour that matters," he commented on the finishing line in Valloire.
The Victorian came to this race with a champion's mindset, and wants to take over the lead to build confidence for the Tour. "Winning is always the best training," he stated. Even if he doesn't overtake Moreau, Evans is clearly on his way to fulfilling his goal of having peak form for the mountain stages of the Tour de France, but he's not making any assumptions from his performance here.
"I don't want to draw any conclusions from the Dauphiné, he said. "Armstrong won the Dauphiné and the Tour. Landis got dropped at the Dauphiné and won the Tour. Leipheimer won the Dauphiné but got dropped at the Tour. Anything is possible after the Dauphiné."
The Dauphiné has been good preparation for his Tour de France build-up, but Evans is still keeping his eye on some riders who aren't enjoying as much success. "Kashechkin will improve before the Tour, Leipheimer I don't know, Pereiro should improve, Valverde will improve for sure."