Evans will wait and see about Armstrong in Le Tour
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Evans will wait and see about Armstrong in Le Tour

by Steve Jones at 8:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 

Tour contender Cadel Evans told the online newspaper The Australian that he's not convinced seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will be on the start line come July.

Regardless, Evans thinks that Spaniard Alberto Contador will be the man to beat. No question Contador will be returning with a vengeance after being forced to give up his throne because he wasn't invited to last year's race.

"Let's see if he's (Armstrong) on the start line. I will be watching his progress in the Tour of Italy," Evans told the newspaper.

Contador ended up taking out his frustration with the ASO decision not to invite his Astana team on the "other two" grand tours. The result had him winning them both.

And while Evans has been the runner-up in the Tour for two consecutive years, he realizes he is in for a new and improved Contador this time around. The Spaniard has made major improvements on his weakness, the individual time trial.

Earlier this year in Paris-Nice Contador scorched the time trial beating specialist Bradley Wiggins (Garmin - Slipstream), and soon thereafter in the Tour of the Basque Country he produced another winning ride with the Australian time trial specialist present...beating him at his own game by 1:25.

The bright side for Evans was that he was second to Contador by only 9 seconds in a mountain stage earlier in the week, which is considered to be his Achilles heel.

What does all of that mean?

It means that Contador is a better time trialist and Evans is now climbing better than he used did previously. Granted, we don't know what sort of condition they were both in when they last met, but it certainly gives an indication that both riders have improved and will be coming out swinging in two months time.

Astana will have a clear advantage fielding four riders that have all finished on the podium in the world's biggest race - daunting challenge to say the least. But it is the Tour de France, and a lot can happen in three weeks, not to mention in the two months of racing and training that will lead us up to the start.
 

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