The upcoming Dauphiné Libéré is the season's first test for Tour de France contenders, but...
The upcoming Dauphiné Libéré is the season's first test for Tour de France contenders, but Australian Cadel Evans will be entering into the race with a question mark on his form. Last year's second place overall in the Tour and the odds-on favourite for this year's Grande Boucle was forced to take a week long break after experiencing tendonitis in his knee following an intensive training camp in the Sierra Nevada, Spain.
Evans has just resumed training, but he has cancelled a scheduled week of training in the Alps where he was to reconnoitre the mountain stages of the Tour de France. While his form might be uncertain, his participation in the Dauphiné (June 8-15) is not in doubt. "He'll be on the start line but we don't know yet in what physical condition," the team manager of Silence-Lotto Marc Sergeant told Le Dauphiné newspaper.
With the exclusion of the Astana team from the Tour, and the subsequent absence of last year's winner, Alberto Contador, as well as third placed Levi Leipheimer, Evans is considered to be the number one favourite for this year's Tour. The 31-year-old began the season in rare form, winning a stage in February's Ruta del Sol, another in Paris-Nice atop the Mont Ventoux, and then going onto a third stage and the overall victory in the Coppi e Bartali in late March.
His last appearances highlighted his continuing strong showing, with a close second in La Flèche Wallonne and a seventh in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. (JFQ)
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