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Cadel Evans took big risks on the descent to separate himself from his rivals. (©Sirotti,
Cadel Evans took big risks on the descent to separate himself from his rivals. (©Sirotti,

Tour de France, Stage 16: Evans Into Second

19. July 2011

Gap, France

Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team raced into second place overall at the Tour de France Tuesday by following all the attacks on the final climb and making a daring descent on rain-soaked roads to the finish.

Scary Downhill

Evans gained time on all his closest competitors on the 162.5-kilometer stage that was defined by the Col de Manse, a climb that summited 11.5 km from the finish. The former world road champion attacked with Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and the trio had 30 seconds near the top. Evans gapped the two on the descent to gain three seconds on Contador and Sanchez and 21 seconds on both overall leader Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) and Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek), who was previously second overall. "I wasn't expecting to gain so much on the climb," Evans said. "I was more prepared for things on the downhill actually because it was a little bit dangerous and narrow. That downhill really scared me last year when I had a broken arm."

Cautious Approach
Evans said he was well-positioned as the final climb began with about 20 km to go. "George (Hincapie) and (Marcus) Burghardt got me in good position at the bottom of the last climb," he said. "From there, I just had to play my cards. I took my time and looked around to see what was going on. You have to be really careful when things are so close in the GC." Evans finished 11th on the day to pull within 1:45 of Voeckler as world road champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) won the stage in a three-up sprint.

Lelangue's Outlook
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said he was surprised by how much time Evans gained. "We knew it was a good opportunity to take some time over the Schlecks and (Ivan) Basso on the downhill of La Rochette so it was good to try there and see if we could make a little break," he said. "I was not expecting so much, but at the end it was a good day for us. We still have a big week in the mountains and a big time trial to go, so everything is open."