Absent from the Giro, Evans tackles Tour de France reconnaissance

Defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC) had undertaken reconnaissance this week of one of the key stages of this year's Tour.

Evans was joined by teammate Steve Morabito on Wednesday for the final ascent of the 154km eighth stage between Belfort and Porrentruy.

"It will be a short stage but very intensive," Evans told AFP. "There are beautiful landscapes, beautiful roads, without much flat."
The 35-year-old remains favourite for the 99th edition of the race, with the 96.1 km of time trials falling in his favour. Evans will race the Critérium du Dauphiné as his main lead up event.

Lotto Belisol's Jurgen Van Den Broeck was another to ride over the 2012 Tour de France parcours, also taking a look at stage 8 but adding the final climb of stage seven (Tomblaine - La Planche des Belles Filles), thought to be the first crucial day for general classification contenders.

"It is possible that the early break comes after [the Col de la Croix], as the racers who will contend the general classification gave everything for the previous day classification [on La Planche] and have the time trial the next day," said Van den Broeck.

The Belgian finished fifth at the 2010 Tour de France and then crashed out in 2011. With time trialling believed to be the climber's main obstacle to Grand Tour success, Van Den Broeck has made it a priority in training throughout this season. During his reconnaissance the 29-year-old spent two days on the roads around Besançon where the stage nine individual time trial will take place.


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