Former Australian champion answers his doubters
At half way into the Col de la Madeleine that was the setting of the Dauphiné's stage seven finale, Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) was the only one of the three favourites to have a teammate leading him up while Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne )and Alberto Contador (Astana) were left alone. Evans' teammate was Matthew Lloyd who was fantastic on the crucial finishing climb as Evans was yet to receive help from Jurgen Van den Broeck who was still up the road in the early-race breakaway in order to be able to work as a domestique on the last climb.
"Lloyd and Van den Broeck have done more than expected," said Evans whose Silence-Lotto team looks better than ever in the lead up to the Tour de France. While Van den Broeck's presence has secured his place on Silence-Lotto's Tour team, his first Tour appearance, Lloyd's selection is still in doubt. However, his ride to Saint-François-Longchamp might also earn him a start on the prestigious harbour of Port Hercules in Monaco on July 4.
"I'm a climber and I'm on this team for specific reasons," said Lloyd at the finish line. The strength of the former Australian champion has been questioned following his dramatic crash during the Amstel Gold Race. Lloyd fractured his sacrum and suffered six broken vertebrae but resumed riding 12 days later. "I've worked so much to get back, I saw a physio every day," Lloyd told Cyclingnews at the finish line in Saint-François-Longchamp. "If anyone had any question of me being able to ride the Tour de France, today's stage is my answer.
"People said that I may not be ready for the Tour de France but I am," Lloyd continued. "The Dauphiné is my first race since the injury but I've raced alone in training. I was training the whole early season for the Giro d'Italia and I couldn't do it after the crash. I came here fresh. I love this team, this is a sensational team. I love working for Cadel. I am on the list for riding the Tour but the list is long.
"What's needed for the Tour? Riders that are fresh and can climb? Here I am."
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