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Thu Apr 24 03:13:28 SAST 2014

Evans shows he is still a champion

Mark Meadows, Reuters | 09 July, 2012 09:160 Comments
Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage Eight
Cadel Evans of Australia and the BMC Racing Team crosses the finishline ahead of race leader Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain and SKY Procycling during stage eight of the Tour de France from Belfort to Porrentruy on July 8, 2012 in Porrentruy, Switzerland
Image by: Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

Cadel Evans can look his 35 years of age at times on the bike but the defending champion is still hanging on in the Tour de France with all the dogged determination expected of the Australian.

Twice in two days he has lurched across the line just ahead of race favourite Bradley Wiggins but they remain on the same time with the race-leading Briton 10 seconds ahead of his main rival with nine days of the three-week race gone.

Australian media even hailed his two second places behind Chris Froome and Thibaut Pinot on stages seven and eight as proof that he is dominating Wiggins, even if the truth is somewhat different.

When Evans attacked up the steep finish on La Planche des Belles Filles on Saturday he was immediately reined in and overtaken by Team Sky’s Froome and looked to have nothing left in the tank to respond.

He beat Wiggins on the flatter sprint finish in Switzerland on Sunday but is likely to lose seconds to the time trial specialist on Monday’s 41,5 kms individual race against clock from Arc et Senans to Besancon.

“People are isolated and a lot of the leaders are isolated,” Evans said on Sunday, again bemoaning his BMC team mates’ lack of support after a difficult season.

BMC sporting director John Lelangue added: “It’s perfect for us that we don’t have the yellow jersey so we don’t have to control too much.”

After dismounting from the bike with weary legs that seem to buckle like no other rider, Evans dashed off for his daily shower in the team bus.

Then, rather than speeding off in the team car away from the hordes of reporters, he stopped to talk to a man in a wheelchair.

There are two sides to being a great champion.

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Evans shows he is still a champion

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