Evans improving

A strong ride by Cadel Evans moved him back into seventh overall, 9'49 behind leader Lance Armstrong and 1'37 behind sixth placed Levi Leipheimer. Evans was able to hold onto Armstrong, Basso, and Ullrich when they attacked on the last climb, eventually finishing 37 seconds up on the next group of GC contenders. Cyclingnews' John Trevorrow spoke to Evans on the finish line, and the Australian was happy with his performance, which made up for yesterday's 20 second time loss near the finish.

"All that work and only one place," said a smiling Evans. "I'm sure there was a little aggression in my legs. Any opportunity I can, I take. You can't afford not to. Finally I ran into the level of the Tour. Bit late, but better late than never."

Unfortunately for Evans, his sprint to take 11th place displeased Lance Armstrong, who had led the group up to the finish line. "He wasn't happy about me coming past at the finish," Evans said. "He said 'What was that for?' I suppose he meant that I hadn't done any work. But hey, it's a bike race and you put a finish line in front of me on a day like today with the adrenalin pumping and I can't help myself. I don't even know what day it is, man."

Evans was happy with his teammates today, who put him in the right place at the finish. "Today I had a great lead out from my team as we approached the final climb. Wim Vansevenant put me in the ultimate position, if anything I was too far forward, but I could afford to take it easy at the bottom part of the climb, get in my perfect position and go forward from there.

"I am better at the shorter, steeper climbs, and a good mate called me this morning and said 'today it will be Armstrong, Rasmussen and Evans on the climb. I didn't believe him and he was wrong, it was Basso not Rasmussen."

Were you in trouble on the climb? "Let's say I wasn't sitting there looking at my watch. In fact I took it off this morning cause I didn't want any extra weight."

How do you see yourself in the time trial? "Well, this was a steep uphill and the TT is up and down, but I am just happy to be in this position now and I will take it day by day. I just wanted to get through this without losing any time and I did that. I managed to stay with Armstrong and take some time on the others and that's always a bonus."

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