By Shane Stokes in Autun
GC contender Cadel Evans fared well on Thursday's fifth stage of the Tour de France, the hardest day of the race thus far. He finished 11th on the stage and is 15th overall, 56 seconds behind Fabian Cancellara and ahead of many of the other favourites.
"It was dehydrating," he said, when asked what the day was like. "There was no chance of getting a bottle in the last 70 kilometres.
"The climbs were okay but I think it was the downhills which were more selective, to be honest! I felt all right out there. We will see when we get to the real mountains."
Evans also commented on the crash and lost time of Alexandre Vinokourov. "It would have been hard to get back there [to the peloton] - it was really fast at that point. If you lose position there, then you are out of it."
He dismissed any suggestions that teams rode to distance the Astana leader. "The speed was on because the guys were trying to bring back the break. For guys like Zabel and Freire, it is good for them if they can make it to a sprint finish without Hushovd or McEwen and guys like that."