BMC and Cadel Evans may not have pulled back any of the ten seconds separating the Australian from Bradley Wiggins on stage 8 of the Tour but they showed their intent to defend Evans’s title with an aggressive approach. Philippe Gilbert was present in the first break of the day with Amaël Moinard joining the second later in the race.
However it was the sight of Evans attacking on the descent of the Col de la Croix that will have pleased the BMC Racing Team management most. With Sky in yellow BMC’s approach is clear: conserve energy while Wiggins’s team controls the peloton and then exploit any fatigue with maximum effect.
"It's perfect for us that we don't have the yellow jersey so we don't have to control too much," John Lelangue said.
"It's also been perfect for us that there are some guys who are close (to the lead) and want to make the race a little harder and some guys who have lost two or three minutes and want to make up time."
Team manager Jim Ochowicz agreed with Lelangue’s assementment: "I think that today went well," told Cyclingnews at the stage finish.
"We had Gilbert in the first break and then Moinard in the second break and that takes pressure off the team. We followed the race then and Cadel’s plan was to make an effort here at the end because he knows the down hills. Today was a good race for us."
Evans joined forces with Jurgen van den Broeck in the closing stages, forcing Wiggins to close the gap himself but tomorrow’s individual time trial will see Evans and Wiggins go head-to-head in the race of truth, with a 41.5 kilometre race from Arc-et-Senans – Besançon.
In last month’s Dauphine Wiggins outclassed the field in a 53 kilometres time trial from Villié-Morgon - Bourg-en-Bresse with Evans finishing 1:43 down. Ochowicz believes that the margin will be far less on stage 9. "I don’t want to put a number on the gap. I think it will be close. A minute to me is not close and I think that this is a different time trial to the one they did at the Dauhpine, it’s more technical and Cadel is good at those."