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Cadel Evans is wearing the yellow jersey for the third time in his career. (©Sirotti, www.sirotti.it.)
Cadel Evans is wearing the yellow jersey for the third time in his career. (©Sirotti, www.sirotti.it.)

Cadel Evans Leads Tour de France

23. July 2011

Grenoble, France

Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team rode into the lead on the penultimate day of the Tour de France with second place in the individual time trial Saturday in Grenoble.

'Kept To Our Plan'

Riding his BMC timemachine TM01, Evans was second-fastest at all three intermediate time checks to stage winner Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) and only seven seconds slower at the finish. Evans was 2:31 better in the 42.5-kilometer race against the clock than previous race leader Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek), who dropped to second overall. After donning the yellow jersey, Evans said he has been working 20 years for this moment. "Really, I can't quite believe it," he said. "I rode the best time trial I could today. Every day, we rode the best we could. Every day, the team did 99.9 percent, if not 100 percent. I had a couple of off days, a couple moments of bad luck. But we just kept to our plan and every day we kept working." Evans leads Schleck by 1:34 with Sunday's 95 km race into Paris a mere formality.

Stage Win Was Possible
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said he and Evans discussed taking a "stage-winning" approach to pull back the 57 seconds the former world road champion needed to take the overall lead. "That way, we had no pressure about the jersey or the GC," Lelangue said. "We could have actually won the time trial because we were within two seconds of Tony Martin in the last downhill, but I didn't want him to take too many risks. I actually had to slow him down."

Preparation Was Key
BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz, who first brought a team to the Tour de France in 1986, said it was difficult to put into words the magnitude of Evans's accomplishment. "It's an incredible victory for Cadel, first and foremost," Ochowicz said. "The entire team and the riders and staff have put an incredible amount of effort into this whole event. The Tour doesn't start on the first day. It starts well in advance of that with hard training and preparation and a lot of work by everyone to prepare for the race. You never know what the outcome is going to be. But from Day One, Cadel attacked the race and the team was there every day to back him up, keep him out of trouble and do the work that needed to be done."

About To Make History
Evans has led the Tour de France twice before (2008, 2010) and is one of five Australians to wear the maillot jaune. Last year, he led the race for one day despite suffering from a broken elbow. Twice he has finished second overall at the Tour de France (2007, 2008). Evans said he hadn't yet given much thought to becoming the first rider from the Southern Hemisphere to wear the maillot jaune in Paris. "I sort of have to take a moment to sort of take everything in," he said. "I've been concentrating on going as quickly as I could over those 42 km today. I hope everyone has enjoyed it."