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Cadel Evans put in attack after attack on the climb but could not shake Diego Ulissi (center) and Simon Gerrans. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Cadel Evans put in attack after attack on the climb but could not shake Diego Ulissi (center) and Simon Gerrans. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Santos Tour Down Under, Stage 5: Evans Slips To Second

25. January 2014

Cadel Evans fought his way to a sixth-place finish Saturday on Old Willunga Hill, but the BMC Racing Team leader slipped out of the overall lead by one second to Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE).

Multiple Attacks
Evans attacked in the final two kilometers of the 151.5-km race. But Richie Porte (Team Sky) countered the move and soloed away to win the stage. Meanwhile, Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) and Gerrans – both of whom Evans initially distanced – worked together to catch him. But after launching multiple attacks earlier on the climb and again in the final kilometer, Evans lost contact with the pair in the final 100 meters. He rolled across the finish line four seconds after Ulissi out-sprinted Gerrans for second. Coupled with a four-second time bonus earned for placing third, Gerrans regained the Ochre leader's jersey he had held for the first two days but gave up to Evans after Stage 3.

Help From Wyss And Bookwalter
Evans said he anticipated the lead-in to the second of two ascents of Wallunga Hill would be important. The past Tour de France champion received a strong escort, first from Danilo Wyss and then from Brent Bookwalter. But the pair was the only two other BMC Racing Team riders to make the split when Orica-GreenEDGE forced the pace the first time up the climb. "In the end, I have to say Orica rode fantastic and they raced for every second here all week," Evans said. "When they put pressure on me after the king of the mountain sprint after that first time up Wallunga, it caught some of our team on the back foot. That cost me at the start (of the climb) where I had to make my moves to secure the overall."

Time Bonuses The Difference
Heading into Sunday's 20-lap, 85.5-kilometer circuit race in Adelaide, Evans is four seconds ahead of Ulissi and nine seconds ahead of Porte. Time bonuses of three, two and one second are on offer for the final stage in the form of two intermediate sprints, as well as bonuses of 10, six and four seconds at the finish line. "The race isn't over," Evans said, "but we are going against a team that is specifically designed for this race. We don't have a pure sprinter here. The difference between first and second and maybe even third on GC (general classification) could come down to the intermediate seconds. So if you don't come here with a lead out team and sprinters, it becomes quite difficult to achieve."

Listen to complete comments from Evans on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

View photos from the race on our Flickr gallery.