Evans and BMC done in by Ventoux and the tempo before it
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Evans and BMC done in by Ventoux and the tempo before it

by Kyle Moore at 1:10 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Gilbert and Morabito pace home team leader 8’46” down; Evans candid after tiring day

Cadel EvansStage 15 and the Mont Ventoux summit finish of the Tour de France was about as decisive as it could have been, with Chris Froome (Sky Procycling) again stamping his authority on the race. Froome took the stage and 29 seconds out of runner up Nairo Quintana (Movistar), and added a minute and 40 seconds to his advantage over GC rivals Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Bauke Mollema (Belkin).

Stage 15 was also decisive for BMC Racing and leader Cadel Evans, as the Australian former winner was dropped early on the final ascent and was shepherded over the finish line by two team-mates, 8’46” after Froome.

The disappointing finish drops Evans from 13th down to 16th in the overall standings, and the Aussie now sits 15’40” behind Froome.

The result punctuates what has been a disappointing Tour de France for BMC, as other general classification hope Tejay van Garderen has been suffering with a lack of form, finishing in a grupetto in stage 15. With the further time loss by Evans, BMC may now be turning its focus solely to a stage victory, along with protecting Evans’ top 20 position overall.

After Sky Procycling began to seriously crank up the pressure as the steepness of the Ventoux climb kicked in, the favourites group was whittled down quickly, with Evans losing contact with more than ten kilometres to race. He had team-mate Steve Morabito for company, and would later be joined by an impressively climbing Philippe Gilbert.

Evans was honest and sporting in his appraisal of the stage.

“The worst thing about being dropped so early? You have so much time to be p----d at yourself! Thxs for the support today-I needed it!” read Evans’ post on Twitter after the stage.

He was a bit more detailed in a team press release after the stage, but his comments reflected a similar sentiment. Evans admitted to being out of steam before the Ventoux had even started, which obviously had him on the back foot when the legendary ascent bit in. Prior to the climb, riders had already completed 221km at a very high pace, making for an extremely tough day of racing.

“What can I say? I was nowhere near where I wanted to be and had a lot of difficulties," Evans said of his feelings on the climb. “I was feeling fine to start, a bit tired after the start and exhausted even before we started the climb. It's hard to go in with big expectations when you're exhausted before the climb even starts. As the climb went on, [I felt] worse and worse. When you're popped out of the group, it doesn't do much for your motivation.”

BMC started the day by trying to get Marcus Burghardt into the breakaway, but the German tried to join up with a group that had already established. He had mountains classification leader Pierre Rolland (Europcar) with him, and with the breakaway not desiring to have the polka dot jersey in its midst, Burghardt never fully bridged across.

“We wanted to have one guy in the break to be support for Cadel later in the race when it started to blow," BMC rider Brent Bookwalter explained. “He was a little ways off in the counter but it was still a good effort."

“It was very, very fast at the beginning and all day long," Amaël Moinard added. “Then, we all had to struggle to be in a good position at the bottom of the Ventoux. It was very hard. I think that everybody had to make great efforts to be in a good position at the bottom and then [from the bottom], it was very fast.”


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