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Cadel Evans led the chase up the Galibier. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Cadel Evans led the chase up the Galibier. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Tour de France, Stage 18: Leading The Pursuit

21. luglio 2011

Serre Chevalier, France

Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team shouldered the bulk of the workload Thursday at the Tour de France, leading the pursuit of stage winner Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) up the final climb of the Galibier.

Evans Now Fourth

Evans pulled back nearly 45 seconds from Schleck in the final kilometer, but it was not enough to prevent him from losing his grip on second place overall. Andy Schleck and brother Frank Schleck (second on the stage), both moved ahead of Evans, who finished third on the day. Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) clings to the overall lead by 15 seconds and is 1:12 ahead of Evans, who is now fourth. "When Voeckler and his team stopped riding and he has the yellow (jersey), it was a bit bizarre and strange," Evans said. "They've been riding a lot all week, but he had a teammate in the end, too. They sort of looked at me to do the work, but I was alone, too. I'm never happy to lose places on GC."

Help From Teammates
After Andy Schleck put in an attack midway up the Col d'Izoard – with still more than 60 km to go – Evans used Brent Bookwalter to help with the pacemaking. The American was part of an early 19-man breakaway. "I gave everything I had today to help once Cadel's group got up to me," Bookwalter said. "I was already on empty at that point, but I did what I could." Later, BMC Racing Team's Amaël Moinard and Steve Morabito helped pace Evans to the final climb of the 200.5 km stage.

'We're Still In Contention'
BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said it was impressive to watch Evans lead the chase and close the gap to Andy Schleck. "It could have been a lot worse if he (Evans) had not taken the initiative," Ochowicz said. "(Alberto) Contador was dropped, (Samuel) Sanchez was dropped. You don't get dropped if you're not using most everything that you've got. This race isn't over and we're still in contention and tomorrow is another day. It's going to be hard tomorrow. But we're going to be as competitive as we have been every day thus far in the race."