Tour de France: Evans and Rodríguez suffer “disappointing” day in Ax 3 Domaines
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Saturday, July 06, 2013

Tour de France: Evans and Rodríguez suffer “disappointing” day in Ax 3 Domaines

by Ben Atkins at 6:10 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
General classification hopefuls put to the sword by Team Sky on final climb

cadel evansStage eight between Castres and Ax 3 Domaines saw hot favourite Chris Froome (Team Sky) put time into all of his general classification rivals, but some suffered more than others on the final climb to the finish. Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) lost 2’06” to the British rider, while 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) fared even worse, and had conceded 4’13” by the time he crossed the finish line.

"It was my worst day in the Tour when I've been healthy. I was nowhere in the mix," Evans said. "I had a few little problems. I knew I wasn't at my best, but certainly I didn't expect to be that far off the best.

"Sky rode a tempo that was really consistent, from when they started on the Pailhères to when they hit the bottom of Ax 3 Domaines," he added. "They rode a consistent, solid pace, and not many people could match it."

Evans was visibly suffering on the final climb to the finish, but his problems didn’t start there, as Team Sky set a steady pace on the preceding climb to the Port de Pailhères.

“On the climb leading up to the Pailhères I was already having a bit of a hard time and it put me a bit on my limit, which is obviously cause for some concern,” he admitted. “But when you’re in the running for GC 7km is not something you normally get dropped on, but on the last climb I had a few little problems coming into the mix there and I pushed myself to my maximum.

“When you see 20 guys riding away from you, you know you’re a long way off the pace.”

Evans’ BMC Racing teammate Tejay van Garderen, who won last year’s white jersey and was tipped for joint team leadership with the Australian, fared even worse and lost 12’15”. The 24-year-old American is still suffering from the after effects of being brought down in the big crash on stage one, but it was the weather conditions in the Pyrénées that he credited for his loss of form today.

joaquim rodriguez"The heat really started getting to me,” he admitted, “which is strange because I'd done a lot to prepare for the heat with the sauna and I've had good rides in California and San Luis, which were all really hot. So I didn't think that was going to be an issue. But for some reason, today, it really seemed to affect me." 

Rodríguez meanwhile was disappointed about his loss of time to Froome, but remains hopeful for the rest of the Tour with two weeks still to go.

"It was a very hard stage for the high temperature and the fast pace the group kept all day,” he said. “I'm a little disappointed about the result because I expected more from myself. But anyways, I'm optimistic about the rest of the race: Paris is still very far and we have to ride so many more kilometres before reaching it."

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