Cadel Evans (BMC) dogged performance on the final stage of the Criterium International to secure overall victory in the event will serve as a confidence boost in the lead up to his Tour de France defence which begins in three month's time.
Evans surged to fourth position on the final stage, in order to extend the narrow lead he had from the penultimate stage. Stage winner, Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ-Big Mat) jumped from 21st overall, to second with his victory on Sunday.
"We started today with .28 of a second between first and second. The there were two second time differences for the bonifications at the finish for example, suddenly you've got your mountaintop finish but you're thinking about bonification seconds – it makes for a different race."
The 35-year-old said he took a lot of confidence from the penultimate stage, but credited the overall victory to the work of his team.
"Yesterday was a good indication and a nice confidence boost and a pat on the back for the work we've done so far as a team," Evans explained. "I'm programmed as a general classification rider so of course I want to take the yellow to the end of the race and the team worked very, very well today.
"The young guys started out and I think for them it was an honour for them to ride in a part of France with the yellow jersey in the team and so I'm happy for them. Those young guys are coming back into some good times after some bad times," he concluded, referring to compatriot Tim Roe who is returning from injury.
With Saturday's time trial victory in Porto-Vecchio, Evans was able to secure the opening victory of the 2012 that the so-called ‘super team' had been craving, and many believed would more-likely go to recruits Philippe Gilbert or Thor Hushovd.
Evans suggested that while the latter two would focus on the one day classics over the next month, he would be looking towards the his traditional stepping stones to July.
"It's a good indication [for the Tour] but we've got big races to come still. For me, July at the Tour and maybe the Olympic Games," he said.
"I go to the Ardennes week and try and be a good lieutenant for Phil' Gilbert there and then the Tour of Romandie. It's a special race for me but most of all it's really getting the final steps in place for the Tour. Then I'll just be working toward Dauphine and training camps."
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