In classic Cadel Evans style, the 2011 Tour de France winner continues to slowly chip away at the deficit to some of his fellow general classification rivals. Posting a time far from the top of the day’s standings, a full 2:30 behind Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and admitting he was far from his best, the Australian managed to move up two places to 14th overall.
Evans lost more time to current race leader Chris Froome (Sky), who Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) noted "there’s Froome and then there’s everyone else," but the experienced BMC captain was philosophical in his defeat.
"My time wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything particularly special," said Evans on his team site in response to 21st on the day which saw Froome gain another 2:18 on the 36-year-old Australian.
"Looking toward Paris and the end of the race, it would have been ideal to take back more time on some of the rivals ahead of me, but I didn't have it in the legs today to do better. From here, I hope to improve myself for the next set of mountains and the next time trial and keep moving ahead on the GC," he added.
The next big test for Evans and the remaining GC hopefuls will come at the weekend when the peloton will faces the iconic Mont Ventoux. The race’s longest stage offers only one real test along the 242.5km route but the 20km final ascent will be another important marker for Evans and his eventual position amongst the overall contenders.
"Hopefully, we can recover and rest up a bit because Saturday, the Lyon stage is not going to be easy and, on Sunday, Mount Ventoux is going to be the next really big shake up of the GC contenders."
Realistic in his rider’s unlikely chance of winning the overall or stepping onto the podium, BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz says there is still much to race for - with Evans sitting a little over one minute from the top-10 - and whilst Froome may has a strong hold of the maillot jaune with nearest rivals Valverde and Bauke Mollema (Belkin) 3:25 and 3:37 behind respectively, last year’s second overall cannot be declared the winner of the Centenary edition just yet.
"With this race, anything is possible," said Ochowicz. "This is like the halfway point. We're getting into the second phase. There are so many more mountains ahead in the last week of this race that maybe people haven't taken into consideration yet in their mathematical equations. We think that the race is far from over. Certainly for us, it's a lot more difficult to think about winning in Paris. But I wouldn't say Froome is the definite winner yet."
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