Cadel Evans' chances of reaching the Tour de France podium for the third time in his career are over according to his director sportif Henrick Redant. Evans finished 46th on today's mountain stage from Martigny to Bourg-Saint-Maurice and slumped to 17th, 7:23 down on Alberto Contador.
At the finish Evans wasn't willing to comment, but Redant said the rider was disappointed: "In Verbier he wasn't 100 percent and it seems today he couldn't follow the best," Redant said from the Silence Lotto team car.
"It's going be very difficult as he as lost at least another three more minutes. We have to see what his reactions are and how disappointed he is because I've not talked to him. We came here with a goal of helping him go for yellow and we stuck to that, we tried to get someone in the break today, like Saxo Bank did, but it didn't work."
With a place on the podium now out of reach, Redant believes that the Australian and 2008 runner up should refocus on a possible stage win bid in the coming days.
"I think he should do that now, but tomorrow is hard stage. There is the time trial and then Ventoux so maybe he should aim for that as the podium is difficult now."
Evans preparation for this year's Tour has been less than perfect. There was confusion within the team as to whether he would ride the Giro d'Italia in May and then one of Silence Lotto's biggest signings, Thomas Dekker, was thrown out of the team after falling foul of the UCI's doping rules.
Lacking sufficient firepower in his squad, Evans lost 2:46 in the team time trial in the first week of the Tour, however Redant refused to admit that Evans' Tour bid ended there.
"I don't think so. In the team time trial we had a big blow and lost 2:46 but there was still potential to do something. In Verbier he maybe should have tried to do something and today he had another off day."
Redant was impressed with Evans' teammate Jurgen Van Den Broeck who made it into the day's escape and performed well, eventually finishing fifth.
"Jurgen proved he can do it in the mountains for three or four days in a row. Maybe he is the guy who can do it in the future. He still has to grow of course. He had a great Giro last year and missed out on the white jersey because of riders like Sella and Ricco, but he is a diamond you can keep and treasure."