Evans brushes off ghosts of Plateau de Beille's past

Cadel Evans (BMC) is predicting fireworks during Saturday's Tour de France stage to Plateau de Beille. The Australian currently sits 3rd on GC, 2:06 down on yellow but sandwiched between the Schleck brothers by a matter of seconds.

"There will be fireworks tomorrow, don't worry," he said after a relatively calm stage for the GC contenders.

"I think everyone is pretty tired from yesterday and tomorrow is a big day as well. It's a long final climb and a hard day and everyone is starting to race with less nervousness today."

The Tour has climbed Plateau de Beille three times and on each occasion, the stage winner has gone on to claim the yellow jersey in Paris but Evans has already made it clear that he will be looking only towards Paris, ignoring any omens.

"If I don't win tomorrow I'm not going to give up winning the Tour, put it that way. It's going to be a pretty important day and one of the key ones but we've still got a couple of others in the Alps so we'll see."

Thursday's stage to Luz-Ardiden cemented Evans' credentials as a candidate for the yellow jersey after he matched the likes of Andy Schleck and Ivan Basso, put time into Alberto Contador and led the chase for Frank Schleck. However the Australian, who has twice finished second in the Tour, remained collected at today's finish in Lourdes, pointing out that a number of GC contenders were yet to hit their top form.

"I think some guys are still improving like Samuel Sánchez and Ivan Basso so there will still be changes. It's not like it's going to be repeat of yesterday. I'm not scared of it but it's a lot even if we're on a good day," he said.

Team manager Jim Ochowicz remained outside the BMC bus as his GC leader climbed on board and although he stressed the need to be cautious when it came to making predictions within this year's race, he was still questioned as to whether he'd made the team work too hard during the opening stages.

"It's day-to-day for us and we're not making predictions. He seems okay and we'll see what happens tomorrow. We can't dictate changes we just have to follow and sometimes lead but it all depends on certain circumstances," he said.

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