Cadel Evans (BMC) warmed down on the rollers in a hotel room at the top of the mountain time trial course, getting the pain and suffering out of his legs and the disappointment out of his mind.
By the time he spoke to the media, the 36-year-old Australian had already begun to see the positive aspects to what had been a bad day.
Evans finished 25th on the stage 18 mountain time trial, losing 2:36 to stage winner and overall Giro d'Italia leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Evans also lost over a minute to his podium rivals but managed to retain second overall. Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky) is third, 10 seconds behind him, with Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) fourth, 1:12 behind Evans.
"Did I have a poor time trial? I'd say it was a very bad time trial, a lot worse than I expected," Evans said in Italian before later switching to English.
"Till this point I've made a few mistakes but nothing big. But when you're near winning, it's great, but perhaps that's when your hopes rise above your capabilities. But overall today wasn't what I was looking for or what I was expecting.
"As I've always said, I came to the Giro with high hopes but without expecting too much. Today I gave it everything but when we have a short stage, like at Bardonecchia or today, I'm not at the level of the best riders here. That probably comes down to my ability to recovery in third week. There were also a couple of things that haven’t been optimal for me outside of the racing that maybe compromised things a little bit."
As he traveled to his hotel, Evans tweeted: Uphill TT done here at the Giro: Nibali in a class of his own. Evans -if I may say so myself- abysmal.... #giro #goodtraining.
He is now 4:02 down on Nibali and praised the Italian's consistent performance.
"Nibali deserves to win the Giro," he said.
"It's not for a lack of trying that I lose a couple of minutes to him. I'm unlikely to win (the Giro) but considering I came here for training for the Tour de France, second place at this point is not too bad. The reason I came here was to get back to my best for the Tour. I want to give everything I can and being second at this point is good. I have to see my glass as half full.
"There are two ways to look at this. At one point I was second at 30 seconds and thought that maybe I could win this Giro. But I'm here to get back to my best and in that regard, it's not something I should be kicking myself in the backside for.
"That's the thing about bike racing: you start with 200. There's one winner and 199 losers."
Fighting for the podium
With a chance of victory all but gone, Evans is now focused on defending his place on the podium. Time bonuses will be vital if he is to hold off Uran, while Scarponi is expected to attack on the climb to the finish to gain the minute he needs to secure a podium spot.
"My goal is always to gain places on my rivals but I'm four minutes down on Nibali and so I've got little chance of moving past him, so I've got to defend my second place now," Evans explained.
"Second is better than third but fourth is a pretty horrible place to finish in a Grand Tour. The others are close, Uran went well in the time trial.
"At this point we'll relax and recover and think about tomorrow. Now we'll see what happens in the final days. We don’t even know what route we're going to ride yet but I'll be ready for everything."
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