Australian cyclist Evans emerges as top challenge in Tour de France

14:38, July 08, 2010      

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Australian cyclist Cadel Evans has firmed as a serious contender to win this year's Tour de France now held in Belgium, Australia's media reported on Thursday.

On a stage that put a serious dent into the hopes of veteran Lance Armstrong, Evans climbed into third overall, 39 seconds behind the yellow jersey, which reclaimed by Fabian Cancellara.

"I'm not quite built for the cobbles, but I got through it not bad, not bad for a guy who goes uphill anyway," Evans told The Australian after the punishing 213km ride.

"It's ridiculous. It's incredibly tough and tiring," He said.

The Australian report that the yellow jersey was something Evans desperately covets, having finished second on two occasions and after the gut-wrenching disappointment of last year, when his hopes were dashed after a teammate crashed in the 39km team time trial at Montpellier, costing him time.

"It seems Evans has grown an extra leg since he began racing with the rainbow jersey of the world champion on his back," the paper wrote.

By virtue of finishing third behind Hushovd, Evans jumped 16 places in general classification.

"It was good to get through it as a GC rider," Evans said of the stage that covered the treacherous passage dubbed the Hell of the North.

"But it was easier said than done, because I think only two GC guys really got through it without losing time," He said.

The two were Evans and Andy Schleck, and the pair can thank Tour veterans Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voigt, who rode themselves into the cobbles.

"I think the first section of pave (cobbles) at Sars-et-Rosieres was probably the worst," Evans said. "I took the safer option of riding on the shoulders of the road. My goal was just to get through the stage without losing time."

Herald also reported on Thursday that after Evans' brilliant ride on the cobblestones of stage three that moved him into third place, his diversity could even help him to win the legendary Paris-Roubaix one-day classic in April.

Source: Xinhua


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