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Teammates (from right) Steve Cummings, Marcus Burghardt and Amaël Moinard brought Cadel Evans back after he lost contact on the second-to-last climb of the day. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Teammates (from right) Steve Cummings, Marcus Burghardt and Amaël Moinard brought Cadel Evans back after he lost contact on the second-to-last climb of the day. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Tour de France, Stage 16: Van Garderen Moves Up; Evans Slips Back

18. July 2012

BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen climbed one spot to sixth in the overall standings Wednesday while teammate Cadel Evans lost time and slid from fourth to seventh overall on the penultimate day in the mountains at the Tour de France.

Van Garderen Still Best Young Rider
Evans conceded nearly five minutes to race leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) after falling back on the last of four climbs of the 197 kilometer race. Van Garderen also couldn't match the pace of the top three riders on the general classification – Wiggins, Christopher Froome and Vincenzo Nibali, respectively – but finished in a small group 58 seconds later to solidify his lead in the best young rider classification. With one more stage in the Pyrenees and a time trial still to come in the final four days, van Garderen is 7:55 off the lead, while Evans is a further 11 seconds back. "I'm thrilled with how I'm riding and hopefully I can keep it going for one more day and then the time trial," van Garderen said. "I'm doing better than I could have ever imagined. It's just a pity that Cadel has fallen back a bit."

Evans Not 100 Percent
Evans acknowledged he did not feel well before the start. "I didn't think it would affect me in the race but obviously that's not my normal level and it's pretty much Tour de France over for me," the defending champion said. When asked how he would approach Thursday's 143.5 km stage that features five categorized climbs and a mountain-top finish, Evans said taking back time would be difficult. "I don't know that I'm far enough back to be allowed the freedom to go in a breakaway," he said. "You have to be optimistic but you also have to be realistic. Obviously this year things haven't been coming together. The year's not over but certainly the retirement present I wanted to give to George Hincapie this year. The hope and wish for that is gone."

Helped By Teammates
Evans first lost contact on the ascent of the Col d'Aspin when Liquigas-Cannondale raised the tempo. Teammate Amaël Moinard was there to pace him back and the pair were only 45 seconds adrift of the Sky-led peloton at the summit. From there, Marcus Burghardt, Steve Cummings and Moinard worked together to bring Evans back before the final climb of the Col de Peyresourde. But when the Lotto-Belisol Team upped the pace shortly thereafter, Evans could not follow. At the summit, he was more than four minutes adrift as he began the 16.5 km downhill plunge to the finish. Crossing the line 35th on the day, 11:56 behind stage winner Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar), Evans shook the hand of Hincapie, who had crashed on the descent of the Tourmalet but soldiered on to help Evans in his 17th, and final, Tour de France. "Cadel is a champion, he's never going to quit, he's exciting and that's why we love him," Hincapie said.

Lelangue: 'We'll Keep Fighting'
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said while the fight for a possible podium spot will continue, hopes of a repeat victory are gone. "We are too late," he said. "This was the last big mountain stage where you can really make it. Tomorrow is also a nice stage but we are too far away to go for yellow. We'll keep fighting. We still have the white jersey, we have two guys in the top 10 and one mountain stage and one time trial."

Listen to complete comments from Evans (English) Hincapie (English), Lelangue (Dutch, English and French) and van Garderen (Dutch and English) on the BMC Racing Team Tour de France AudioLine.