Mûr-de-Bretagne, France – Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team won his second career Tour de France stage Tuesday by narrowly edging three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) in a sprint to the top of the the Mûr de Bretagne.
Too Close To Call
“I don’t know if I’m the master of the uphill finish, but today it was a difficult one with the wind and everything,” Evans said. “It was very close. I didn’t know if I had it on the line myself.” The victory was Evans’s second stage victory this year and the BMC Racing Team’s sixth of the season. The 2009 world road champion also won Stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico and took the overall title there, as well as the overall crown at the Tour de Romandie. He also has a runner-up finish at the Critérium du Dauphiné to his credit this year. His previous Tour stage win in 2007 came as a result of a disqualification on Stage 13.
Evans suffered a bit of a scare with 20 kilometers to go in the 172.5 km race when he punctured, then had his path blocked by a camera motorbike that crashed in front of him. But nearly half of the BMC Racing Team quickly returned him to the peloton. “The reaction of the team was wonderful because we directly stopped with four riders,” BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said. “Most important was that we didn’t panic. We were in the middle part of the peloton and there was no reason to take risks. The best was to wait until we made a turn and had a tailwind.”
With four kilometers to go, BMC Racing Team road captain George Hincapie, competing in a record-tying 16th Tour de France, ratched up the pace at the front to string out the field as the final two-kilometer climb approached. Evans said he followed the wheel of Phillipe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), winner of Stage 1. “Phil was certainly the guy to watch,” Evans said. “It was a particular kind of finish with the wind and so on. I’m really pleasantly surprised.” Asked if he can win his first Tour de France after runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2008, Evans said: “I certainly hope so. So far all is going well. I’ve come close before, so we’ll see. We’ll keep working on it.” Evans remains second overall, one second behind Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo).