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Cadel Evans gained time on the yellow jersey going downhill, not up, on Stage 17. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Cadel Evans gained time on the yellow jersey going downhill, not up, on Stage 17. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Tour de France, Stage 17: Closer To The Lead

20. July 2011

Pinerolo, France

BMC Racing Team's Cadel Evans crept 27 seconds closer to the overall lead Wednesday at the Tour de France thanks to an epic pursuit and some wayward riding on a technical descent by some of the riders in front of him.

Cautious Approach

Evans remains second overall but moved to within 78 seconds of maillot jaune wearer Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar). The former world road champion did not concede any time to the top riders immediately behind him in the overall standings, despite a few harrowing moments on the fast run-in off the Col de Pramartino. "There were more corners, it was drier and all shadowy, which made it hard to see," Evans said, comparing the descent to that of Stage 16 where he also gained time. "I certainly didn't want to take any risks, but there was a little bit of leeway there at the bottom and we had the numbers. Voeckler ran off the road twice in front of me. It makes you take things a bit more cautiously."

How It Happened
As Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Pro Cycling) soloed to the win the 179-kilometer stage, Evans was doing his best on the descent to catch back to Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). "They went right over the top and I got behind Andy (Schleck) and just couldn't get around him," Evans said. "Then Voeckler went off the road in front of him as well. It didn't make sense to cut underneath and take risks just to get across. You don't ever want to lose time to anyone and I've got a good advantage over Alberto now. But he's shown in years gone by what he can do when he's really at his top."