Where Cadel Evans won the Tour de France

After 21 stages, 3,430.5 kilometres and some of the most exhilarating racing the Tour has seen in recent years, Cadel Evans comes away as the 2011 champion.

The Australian's dogged tenacity has always been one of his strengths but this year he combined those qualities with both consistent form and a tactically astute performance. Never lower than 4th on GC, Evans matched his closet challengers when called upon, before taking the race lead in the individual time trial.

Cyclingnews brings you the defining moment of Evans's winning ride.

Stage 1 Passage du Gois La Barre-de-Monts - Mont des Alouettes Les Herbiers 191km
A dull stage sparks into life in the closing kilometres. A series of crashes, the first sparked by Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) clipping a fan - causes Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) to both lose time, while the Schleck brothers (Leopard Trek), Cadel Evans (BMC), Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) are among the fortunate ones.

However, the race truly explodes on the final climb to Mont des Alouettes with Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) not just answering an attack from Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) but also distancing the remnants of the peloton single-handedly. Evans emerges to finish second and puts three seconds into the Schlecks. Contador limps home 1:20 down. Andreas Klöden (RadioShack), Basso, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) and Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) all finish with the main group of GC contenders.

Stage 2 Les Essarts (TTT) 23km
Despite an inexperienced squad, BMC finishes second in the team time trial, putting time into most of their rivals, and while Sky and Leopard finish in the same time, Contador, Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto), and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) all lose between 10 and 40 seconds. Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) grabs yellow but Evans sits just one second down.

Stage 4 Lorient - Mûr-de-Bretagne 172km
It's Contador who lights the torch paper with 1.4km to go, but it's BMC that drives the peloton towards the final climb of the day and in doing so ensures Evans is perfectly placed. The Australian counters the Spaniard's attack, puts in two digs of his own and narrowly comes away with an impressive stage win - his first ever in the Tour de France. Wiggins, Andy Schleck, Ivan Basso, and Damiano Cunego all lose between six and 10 seconds. Hushovd finishes in the same time as Evans and keeps yellow. Nicholas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) - who came into the race with talk of a top 10 placing - is the biggest loser, conceding 19 seconds.

Stage 5 Carhaix - Cap Fréhel 158km and Stage 6 Carhaix - Cap Fréhel 158km
Two relatively easy stages for GC contenders, but crashes mar both stages. Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) crashes out on stage 5, and Levi Leipheimer loses over a minute too. Evans remains with the lead group on both stages finishing just behind the sprinters. Contador crashes on stage 5, injuring his knee, and has mechanical problems on stage 6. There are no significant chances to the GC.

Stage 7 Le Mans - Châteauroux 215km
Cavendish takes another stage win, but the day is overshadowed with Bradley Wiggins crashing out with a broken collarbone bone, while Chris Horner heads home with concussion, too. Evans keeps out of trouble yet again and finishes safely in the peloton.

Stage 8 Aigurande - Super-Besse Sancy 190km
Rui Costa (Movistar) survives from the break to take a fine stage win at Super Besse, but behind him the peloton is caught in heavy rain. Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) animates events with a daring attack on the yellow jersey but he is brought into check, with Cadel Evans leading the GC contenders home in a group of 22 riders. Among them is Hushovd, who hangs onto his one-second lead. Robert Gesink (in white) loses 1:23, suffering from an earlier fall in the race.

Stage 9 Issoire - Saint-Flour 208km
Perhaps the worst crash scene of the Tour and one that Evans narrowly avoids. Vinokourov, Dave Zabriskie and Jurgen Van den Broek all crash out, while Gesink is dropped on the first climb and is forced to chase. BMC does some damage on the front to chase down a break, with Evans finishing near the front of the GC group. Basso, Leipheimer, and Klöden lose more time. Hushovd loses yellow to Voeckler - who is in the break - and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) slides into second but Evans retains his lead of three seconds over Fränk Schleck and 9 seconds over Andy.

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 38:35:11
2 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:49
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:26
4 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:29
5 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:37
6 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:02:38
7 Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:02:43
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:02:55
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:03:08
15 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:04:01
16 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:04:07
17 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:04:22
20 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:05:01

Cugnaux - Luz-Ardiden 209km
Ten years after Robert Laiseka's win atop Luz-Ardiden, Samuel Sanchez delivers again for Euskaltel. Behind him, the favourites line up at the foot of the climb but with Gesink and Leipheimer already dropped. Fränk Schleck tries three moves, the third one snapping the elastic and Contador is put under pressure, losing 13 seconds. Evans and Basso both look strong and try and limit their losses to Fränk Schleck, as Andy bides his time.

At the finish the trio lose 20 seconds to the Leopard climber. Voeckler retains yellow with Fränk leaping over Evans in GC. It's the first stage where the GC contenders show their true form. Cunego, Danielson and Rolland emerge as top 10 potential. Klöden loses over eight minutes, while Martin and Peter Velits (HTC-Highroad) both bow out of GC contention.

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 51:54:44
2 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:01:49
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:06
4 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:17
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:16
6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:03:22
7 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:04:00
8 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:04:11
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:04:35
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:57

Stage 14 Saint-Gaudens - Plateau de Beille 168km
Leopard-Trek does the majority of the pace setting with Evans and BMC sitting just behind them for most of the stage. At the base of the final climb, Andy Schleck is the first to try his luck but is quickly brought back.

Andy attacks again and this time is chased and caught by Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Evans, Voeckler, Contador and older brother Frank. Damiano Cunego, Ivan Basso and Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale) also make it up to the hotspot of hostilities.

After a slight regrouping, Basso makes his one and only attack of the three weeks and it briefly puts a number of riders under pressure. Cunego slips from the group and finishes 39 seconds down on his rivals, while Sanchez gains time with a bold attack. Contador, meanwhile, is content to follow Andy Schleck, and is still suffering with knee problems. At the finish the Schlecks lash out at others over tactics.

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 61:04:10
2 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:01:49
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:06
4 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:15
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:16
6 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:03:44
7 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:04:00
8 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:04:01
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:05:46
10 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:06:18

Stage 16 Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux - Gap 163km
Another explosive encounter at the Tour sees former yellow jersey Thor Hushovd, claim his second stage of the race. However, the day belongs to Evans, Contador and Samuel Sanchez, who all put time into Basso, Andy and Frank Schleck, and Voeckler over the Col de Manse.

Contador attacks on the final climb but it's his second move on the wet roads that drop the Schlecks, as only Evans and Sanchez can follow. The subsequent pursuit is one of the most exciting moments in the race, as both Schlecks suffer on the tricky corners.

Evans puts the hammer down and drops both Contador and Sanchez in the closing kilometres, gaining three seconds. Andy Schleck comes home 1:09 down on Evans. The Australian leapfrogs Fränk Schleck and becomes the race favourite, 1:45 down on Voeckler, who is beginning to weaken.

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 69:00:56
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:45
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:01:49
4 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:03:03
5 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:03:26
6 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:03:42
7 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:49
8 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:04:01
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:06:04
10 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:07:55

Stage 17 Gap - Pinerolo 179km
A similar parcours to stage 16 and again Contador goes on the attack. This time the conditions are dry and his accelerations on the Pramartino are telegraphed. On the descent, however, Contador goes again and along with Sanchez they distance all their rivals, including Evans, who claims he was boxed in when Contador attacked.

The two Spaniards work together but are caught just before the line by a group containing Evans, the Schlecks, and Cunego. Basso and Voeckler both lose 26 seconds to their rivals.

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 73:23:49
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:18
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:01:22
4 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:36
5 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:02:59
6 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:03:15
7 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:03:34
8 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:49
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:06:04
10 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:07:36

Stage 18 Pinerolo - Galibier Serre-Chevalier 200.5km
Andy Scheck throws the Tour wide open with an audacious attack on the Col d'Izoard with over 60km of racing remaining. It sparks panic in the peloton and leads to one of the most iconic images in this year's Tour, as Schleck pulls further and further ahead, at one point with a lead of over 4 minutes. It's Evans who responds, however. First the Australian burns up all his teammates at the front of the bunch before he himself drives the yellow jersey group to limit his loses and save his Tour chances.

Evans thins a group of around 30 riders to a select few with Samuel Sanchez the first to relinquish any realistic hopes of a podium place, losing 4:42 on the stage. However Evans's metronomic pace is too much for even Contador and the Spaniard, who many thought had been bluffing all day, blows inside the final 4km.

Cunego, Voeckler and then Basso are all distanced in the closing stages and while Andy Schleck takes one of the most incredible stages the Tour has seen in recent years, it's Evans' performance that keeps the race alive. Despite dropping to fourth overall - his lowest place on GC all race - and conceding a handful of seconds to Fränk Schleck, Evans sits 1:12 down on Voeckler, four seconds down on Fränk Schleck and less than a minute behind Andy Schleck. Cunego, Basso, Contador and Sanchez are all left battling for the minor placings on GC.

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 79:34:06
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:00:15
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:01:08
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:12
5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:03:46
6 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
7 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:04:44
8 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:05:20
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:07:08
10 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:09:27

Stage 19 Modane - Alpe-d'Huez 109km
France secures its first stage win of the race thanks to Pierre Rolland's (Europcar) win but the day belongs to Evans, who rides a tactically astute stage.

First Contador rips the race to pieces on the first climb of the day, the Col du Télégraphe, sending teammate Daniel Navarro up the road before slingshotting off his back wheel and into the lead.

Evans, both Schlecks, and Voeckler are the only contenders that can follow but Fränk Schleck, quickly gives in while Evans stops for what appear like mechanical problems and waits for the peloton. For a brief moment it looks at though Contador could have the entire race at his mercy.

The Spaniard, with Andy Schleck on his wheel, presses on and BMC and Liquigas chase for Evans and Basso respectively.

Sanchez makes it to Contador's group but it all comes back together before the final climb up Alpe d'Huez with Basso the most noticeable GC contender in trouble.

Contador again attacks but the battle behind is between the Schlecks and Evans. All three trade attacks but it's the Leopard riders who need to distance the Australian with only a slim margin ahead of the Grenoble time trial. Evans, both Schlecks and Cunego all finish less than 30 seconds down on Contador, while the big loser is Basso, who concedes over a minute to his closet rivals. Voeckler falls out of the lead despite one of the most dogged performances the yellow jersey has seen. He slips to 4th but looks set for a top five finish. Contador and Sanchez both finish ahead of their rivals but their gaps have no effect on the battle for yellow.

1 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 82:48:43
2 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:00:53
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:57
4 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:02:10
5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:03:31
6 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:03:55
7 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:04:22
8 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:04:40
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:07:11
10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:08:57

Stage 20 Grenoble (ITT) 42.5km
Never in doubt: Evans powers through every single time check with the second fastest time of the day - behind stage winner Tony Martin - while Andy Schleck’s 53-second margin wilts with each pedal stroke. Having raced the course at the Dauphiné last month, Evans was able to gauge his performance perfectly and was a full minute quicker than his time in June.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.