After another poor day in the mountains for Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto director sportif Marc Sergeant has defended his rider at the finish in Le Grand Bornand. Evans was dropped several times by the peloton and finished in the gruppeto, almost half an hour down on stage winner Frank Schleck. He now sits in 17th overall.
"If you come to the Tour to achieve something and you’re so far behind then of course you’ll be disappointed," Sergeant told Cyclingnews.
"Today he could have gained time but he was dropped several times. I can’t give you an explanation. I think he had a preparation like he wished, so I don’t see any mistakes."
Evans’ Tour preparation was thrown into confusion earlier in the year when it was announced he would ride the Giro d’Italia. The rider then denied that this was true. "In the winter we proposed for him to do the Giro as a different approach to the Tour. He was quite nervous, so when I met him in Europe I let him make his decision. He decided to do the same preparation as other years and that’s all I have to say about it."
However, Sargeant remained resolute that Evans could bounce back from his Tour de France setback and perform well in the future. "Everybody is already burying Evans but I still think he can have a great result next year."
Teammate and friend Matthew Lloyd gave a more personal insight into Evans' Tour. "Who knows if it’s mental or physical fatigue? Maybe it’s a transitional period or maybe the Tour has come at a time when he’s not in sync. From my point of view that’s quite normal for a person to have ups and downs. To try and explain that and give reason to it is difficult, especially with the type of guy Cadel is. He doesn’t give too much away so it’s difficult to pinpoint what’s going on," Lloyd said.
When asked if the harmony in the team was a factor Lloyd denied there was a problem. "I don’t think there’s discontent in the team. If there is it’s possibly over race timing during the year, different schedules, stuff that all the riders have to deal with, but if you say that’s the reason then you’re clutching at reasons for why the form isn’t there."