Video analysis: Stephen Roche believes Cadel Evans will beat Andy Schleck to win Tour de France
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Video analysis: Stephen Roche believes Cadel Evans will beat Andy Schleck to win Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 6:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Tour de France, Video
Former winner thinks time advantage is not sufficient for Leopard Trek rider

Stephen RocheHaving won one of the closest ever Tours de France in the final time trial in 1987 (pictured), Stephen Roche believes that Cadel Evans will also come from behind and defeat a specialist climber to win this race. Twenty four years ago Roche overcame his deficit to mountain specialist Pedro Delgado; this time round, Evans will start the final time trial 57 seconds behind Andy Schleck.

Roche, who is working on the Tour for Skoda, believes that the Australian will prevail in Grenoble.

“I think right from the start Evans has been calculated to be no more than one minute behind Andy Schleck [going into the time trial]. I am sure he feels that he can pull back a minute on Schleck, and he is 57 seconds down,” he told VeloNation in a video interview yesterday evening on Alpe d’Huez.

“I believe that he can pull back one minute 15, one 20, but a minimum of a minute on Andy Schleck in the time trial tomorrow. Evans knows the time trial from the Dauphiné, he rode it in the Dauphiné and did a very good performance in it. He knows where he can gain time, he knows where he can afford to lose time, and it is a strong man’s time trial.”

Andy Schleck was bullish about his chances yesterday evening, believing that he has enough in hand to hold onto the Maillot Jaune. Roche feels that is inaccurate. “Unfortunately for Andy Schleck, I think he better make the most of his yellow jersey tonight, as I think it is more than likely a time trial where he will lose it.”

Roche also spoke to VeloNation prior to yesterday’s start and said that Frank Schleck should have attacked further from the line on Thursday’s stage to Galiber Serre Chevalier. He accelerated clear inside the final kilometre and opened an eight second gap over Evans, who had done the vast majority of the pursuit of his brother Andy.

Roche feels that if he had gone earlier, he would have gained more time and be in a better position overall. As things stand, Frank Schleck is only four seconds ahead of Evans in the general classification and looks almost certain to be overtaken.

The Irishman has said that he has been very impressed by the quality of the racing in the final week. Yesterday’s stage saw Alberto Contador bounce back after losing time on Thursday, and this set the scene for non-stop action until the summit of Alpe d’Huez.

“Contador had a difficulty towards the end [of the Galibier], having what they reckon was a hunger knock. Then of course on the first climb today, after 15 kilometres, he went on the attack straight away and did a magnificent effort. Unfortunately for Cadel Evans, he had a mechanical problem at the wrong time, and ended up chasing for a long time to get back on to the leading group. But he didn’t panic, he got back on before the Alpe, then he attacked on the Alpe.

“The last 24 hours have basically brought the whole thing alive, and now we have a very small time gap between the top four for Sunday in Paris.”

Click on the videos below for Stephen Roche’s pre- and post-stage analysis. He also speaks about his son Nicolas, who was one of the most aggressive riders on Thursday’s stage.




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