A visit from his wife Chiara after the stage to Aprica helped Cadel Evans get over the immediate disappointment of losing more than three minutes to Ivan Basso but he admitted to Cyclingnews that he now has little chance of finishing on the podium.
Evans also revealed that his Giro has been affected by some problems mid-race but refused to go into details.
"We'll see what happens tomorrow but realistically, I've got little hope of getting back on the podium but we'll see," he told Cyclingnews.
Evans was dropped on the second half of the Mortirolo and Basso, Vincenzo Nibali and Michele Scarponi gradually opened a gap on the
steepest section of the climb. Evans tried to hold on as long as possible and fought all the way to the top of the Mortirolo but was passed by Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) and John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale).
He caught them on the descent and was in turn caught and passed by David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne). On the final steady climb to Aprica, the five came together and began to chase Basso, Nibali and Scarponi but it was not a well-organised chase and they lost almost two minutes in the final ten kilometres.
Evans finished sixth in Aprica. He kept the red points jersey but that was little consolation as he slipped to fifth overall, 4:00 behind Basso and 1:30 from third placed Vincenzo Nibali.
"It was pretty tough day," Evans said.
"Like they've done all week, Liquigas was really strong and can ride a really high rhythm on the climb. There's five of them and there's one of me and the rest of us are all left as the best of each of our team. They've got the strength in the numbers and also the strength of their leader."
Evans admitted that Basso has improved in the second half of the Giro, while he has faded.
"Ivan has been consistent and a little bit better than me in the second half of the Giro," he said.
"I had a few problems, which I'll speak about in Verona. It seems I'm not at the same level as I was at the start. But there's still another day tomorrow. We'll see."
Evans almost crashed into a camper van as he dived down the descent of the Mortirolo. He said that was due to his brakes.
"I don’t know what happened on the descent and I almost went down," he said.
"When you brake with these brake pads, the way you brake changes. On the first corner nothing happened, then both wheels blocked and I almost went off the road. That doesn't give you a lot of confidence for getting back one or two minutes on a descent like that."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.