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2006 Tour de France winner tips Evans for the final victory
As the Tour de France waits for its final two summit finishes coming up, Oscar Pereiro continues his work as an advisor for Spanish radio. Like everybody, the 2006 Tour de France winner is looking forward to the expected showdowns between the overall favourites, and has his own ideas on when the attacks will take place.
"I think it's going to be on the Galibier," he told Cyclingnews. But contrary to other obeservers, the Spaniard thought that it could be the ascent via the Télégraphe, mid-way through stage 19 to L'Alpe-d'Huez, and not Thursday's final ascent that will serve as a battlefield for the overall classification.
"To me personally, that seems the best location to attack, because the total of the stage is so short," he said. "I think it will be the most important climb at this Tour. It's 30km long - if you go really hard into it with your team for the first 15 kms, there are still another 15 km for you to make the differences to the other riders."
Pereiro did not feel that the climb was especially hard compared to others, but he said its main challenge was its length. "It's just so long. To me, the hardest climb this year is the Col Agnel, but the Galibier is just legendary. The Télégraphe is a Cat. 1 climb, and after the descent it's still really long."
The former rider, who has now become a soccer player with Spanish club Coruxo FC, was still impressed with overall leader Thomas Voeckler, whose situation reminded him of his own back in 2006.
"The siuation is similar. He has less time difference. But when you have the yellow jersey, your mindset changes. You become more focused. It's a great experience, and I think it's still possible for Voeckler to win because of that. I feel that he is strong in his head, too, and that may be important.
"At this point, his biggest problem is the Galibier and Alpe d'Huez, but more so the Galibier. If someone like Andy Schleck or Alberto Contador attacks early on the climb, it will be very long for Voeckler."
Pereiro's former teammate Contador, who has made an impressive come-back on the overall classification with attacks on the last two transitional mountain stages, is expected to make further bids to put himself back into contention for the victory in Paris.
"An attack in [stage 18's first climb] Col Agnel is also possible," the Spaniard weighed in. "Alberto will be looking at how his legs are in the morning and then decide on when he attacks. In any case, he will put everything on one card and take it to the limit, even if he has to risk everything.
"But to me, Cadel Evans is in the best position to win at this point, because of hi time trial abilities."