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Slightly Opinionated
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No kidding right?

E
vans takes inspiration from Indurain
Knee not a worry for Aussie fave
By Andrew Hood
Posted Jun. 12, 2008


As Cadel Evans takes aim at becoming the first Australian to win the Tour de France, he is finding inspiration from the first rider to win five in a row: Miguel Indurain.

Evans says that he’ll try to follow Big Mig’s proven model of taking gains in the time trials and defending in the mountains.

“The way I rode the Tour last year was a bit like how Indurain did it. I only took back time in the time trials,” Evans said Wednesday. “I’d like to be able to take time in the climbs as well, but when you have two of the best climbers in the world working against you, like I did in last year’s Tour, it’s not always easy. It’s not like I’m scared to attack, it’s just that I don’t always have the legs.”

It might not be the attack-riddled excitement that fans and the media clamor over, but Silence-Lotto team boss Marc Sergeant says it’s the most effective tactic considering Evans overall consistency.

“That strongest fact of Cadel is that he’s consistent. If it’s time trialing or in the mountains, he’s always there. That’s his big secret,” Sergeant said. “Indurain would gain two or three minutes in the time trials and he could ride defensively. You don’t have to attack to win. (Alberto) Contador won the Giro without attacking.”

The 31-year-old doesn’t have much more room to improve for the 2008 Tour.

After making methodical and steady progress in the past three Tours – climbing from eighth in 2005, fifth in 2006 and second in 2007 – there’s only one place to go if he wants to keep his improvement streak alive.
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“It doesn’t take a mathematician to work it out if I want to continue with my progress,” Evans said with a smile Wednesday. “We’re going for the win. It feels good to be in this position.”

Evans said he’s been working on an improved time trial position as well as his climbing prowess as he takes aim at the overall title.

“We’ve been working hard on all the little details that could add up to seconds, if not minutes, in Paris,” said Evans, who was second in last year’s Tour by 23 seconds to Spain’s Alberto Contador.

Concerning Contador’s absence from this year’s Tour, Evans said curtly, “I don’t make the rules, I just abide by them.”

Knee injury improved
Evans spoke with journalists Wednesday evening following Stage 3 in the Dauphiné Libére, where he finished third in the 31km individual time trial behind surprise winner Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne).

“He’s improved a lot. In last year’s Tour first time trial, I think he lost four minutes (ed – 6:08 to winner Vinokourov, 4:46 to Evans), so that’s a very good improvement, but we’ll see how it goes in the Tour,” Evans said. “That’s been his weakness, or his lesser strength, because he seems like a well-balanced rider.”

Most important for Evans so far through the opening days of the Dauphiné is that he’s riding without pain in his left knee.

Evans was thrown for a scare last month when he was forced to make changes in his Tour preparations after efforts to break-in a new time trial position resulted in tendonitis during a training camp in Spain.

“I wasn’t panicking, but I started to worry about falling behind in my preparation. I was concentrated on getting over the injury and getting back on track for the Tour,” he said. “Now it’s back at a good level. We had to adapt to a new time trial position and the way my body reacted to it, it developed into tendonitis for the first time in my life as a professional cyclist. It seems to be gone now. I have my finger’s crossed and I can move on.”

Evans guessed he was at “6.5 out of 10” on his fitness level right now, but said he will increase his work load in the coming weeks, with special training camps in the mountains to prepare for the Tour.

New pressure
A big difference for Evans this year is that he will enter the Tour as one of the top favorites for victory and the pressure that comes with one.

One way he’s coping with that newfound pressure is counting more than ever on his Silence-Lotto teammates and staff.

Four years ago, the Belgian team was focused on winning cycling’s one-day classics or sprints with Aussie pocket rocket, Robbie McEwen.

Now it’s slowly evolved into a Tour candidate thanks to changes encouraged by Evans.

The team will be traveling with its own chef and Evans will even employ the same bodyguard Lance Armstrong used during the final years of his seven-year Tour reign.

“When you’re looking to improve in that last half-percent, you have to look at the details,” Evans said. “We’ve come a long way. This team has been working hard on this project for four years and now it’s all coming together. We’re a Tour-winning caliber team now.”

Evans said he has a two-year extension on the table from Silence-Lotto and said it’s too early to speak about a rumored all-Australian team anytime soon.

“There’s been a lot of talk, not quite enough euros. We have the riders in Australia to field a good team, but all good things cost money,” Evan said. “We’ve been working four years here on a good thing. I’d like to continue on that progression. These have been the most enjoyable years of my career as a cyclist. I think it’s the best way to win the Tour as well. Maybe in five or six years time, I’d like to be on an Aussie team if they wanted someone with some experience.”

With his profile on the rise back home, Evans said it was “an honor” that Australia is taking notice of the Tour and his efforts to become the first Aussie to win.

“They’re becoming a bit nuts for the Tour,” he said. “I’m proud in that respect to bring attention to cycling to Australia. Aussies love sport, but cycling isn’t part of our culture, so it’s a little bit of an honor.”

Australian television broadcast the Tour live for the first time last year. Ratings are sure to go through the roof if he’s riding in contention for the win come July.
I'm not scared to attack....sure.
 

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Yo no fui.
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You can only do what you can, I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pablo said:
You can only do what you can, I guess.
I suppose that's true, but I think it's going to be a hell of a boring tour.
 

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robdamanii said:
I suppose that's true, but I think it's going to be a hell of a boring tour.
Not so sure about that. Cunego and Valverde are both targeting the race, and they have been known to attack in the mountains.

As for Evans, folks should stop hatin' on him. The article is 100% correct in that Contador did the exact same thing at this past Giro, and everyone is saying that Contador is on another level.
 

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robdamanii said:
I suppose that's true, but I think it's going to be a hell of a boring tour.
The thing is, Cadel's "Indurain-esque" plan just really hasn't been working.
 

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Let's hope he's less critical of his team this year

As a cycling fan, Evans' whining last year about how he could have won the TdF with a better team left a bad taste in my mouth. I can't imagine his teammates appreciated it, not his sponsors.

Regardless of whether he podiums this time or not, let's hope he's grown up a bit.
 

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Pablo said:
The thing is, Cadel's "Indurain-esque" plan just really hasn't been working.
The really funny thing is that there is very little Indurain-esque about Cadel's riding style. Big Mig was a lot more aggressive than people give him credit for. Indurain won 2 or 3 of his tours by making decisive (and unexpected) moves on a variety of road stages... see the <a href="http://www.iht.com/articles/1991/07/20/tour_1.php">stage to Val Louron</a> in his first tour win where he was in a 2 man break with Chiappucci over 2 or 3 passes and took the overall lead after getting outsprinted by the Italian. There's also the <a href="http://www.iht.com/articles/1995/07/10/bike.t.php">1995 stage into Liege</a> where Bruyneel wheel sucked Indurain to the stage win (and a short lived yellow jersey).

Cadel has shown signs this year that he's willing to ride a bit more aggressively. He's won a couple road stages something he hasn't shown the capacity for in the past. He's definitely not the most exciting (or gracious) rider out there, but I'd say he does as much as he can with the talents he has. I wonder if his epic self destruct while in the Pink Jersey in 2002 is a major factor in his reluctance to race to win. It's easy to fear failure after a day like that.
 

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Einstruzende said:
Not so sure about that. Cunego and Valverde are both targeting the race, and they have been known to attack in the mountains.

As for Evans, folks should stop hatin' on him. The article is 100% correct in that Contador did the exact same thing at this past Giro, and everyone is saying that Contador is on another level.
Not quite so.
No matter what people say or think, nobody expected to see Contador in the Giro, himself included.
He did what he could, limit his losses. If he'd have prepared for the race properly, I'm sure we would have seen a different Contador.

Cadel has targeted the Tour for a year now, so his wheelsucking (which will happen) comes as no surprise.

If we see a wheelsucking Contador at the Vuelta, then I will agree with you.
 

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gray8110 said:
The really funny thing is that there is very little Indurain-esque about Cadel's riding style. Big Mig was a lot more aggressive than people give him credit for. Indurain won 2 or 3 of his tours by making decisive (and unexpected) moves on a variety of road stages... see the <a href="http://www.iht.com/articles/1991/07/20/tour_1.php">stage to Val Louron</a> in his first tour win where he was in a 2 man break with Chiappucci over 2 or 3 passes and took the overall lead after getting outsprinted by the Italian. There's also the <a href="http://www.iht.com/articles/1995/07/10/bike.t.php">1995 stage into Liege</a> where Bruyneel wheel sucked Indurain to the stage win (and a short lived yellow jersey).

Cadel has shown signs this year that he's willing to ride a bit more aggressively. He's won a couple road stages something he hasn't shown the capacity for in the past. He's definitely not the most exciting (or gracious) rider out there, but I'd say he does as much as he can with the talents he has. I wonder if his epic self destruct while in the Pink Jersey in 2002 is a major factor in his reluctance to race to win. It's easy to fear failure after a day like that.
Great take. I would only add that, whereas Indurain crushed time trials, Cadel doesn't, so being exclusively defensive in the mountains will only go so far.
 

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Aquamarinos said:
Not quite so.
No matter what people say or think, nobody expected to see Contador in the Giro, himself included.
He did what he could, limit his losses. If he'd have prepared for the race properly, I'm sure we would have seen a different Contador.

Cadel has targeted the Tour for a year now, so his wheelsucking (which will happen) comes as no surprise.

If we see a wheelsucking Contador at the Vuelta, then I will agree with you.
Well, then go review TdF 2007. Contador wasn't the best climber there, and he couldn't shake Evans either.

Also, I don't believe for a second that there isn't more to the 2008 Giro + Astana than we are being led to believe. While Contador may not have been at his best (Attacking for the win in 2007 Paris-Nice comes to mind), he certainly wasn't that far off.
 

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Aquamarinos said:
No matter what people say or think, nobody expected to see Contador in the Giro, himself included.
Indeed quite the surprise, I'd like to spend some time on that magical beach myself...
 
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Einstruzende said:
Well, then go review TdF 2007. Contador wasn't the best climber there, and he couldn't shake Evans either.

Also, I don't believe for a second that there isn't more to the 2008 Giro + Astana than we are being led to believe. While Contador may not have been at his best (Attacking for the win in 2007 Paris-Nice comes to mind), he certainly wasn't that far off.
Unless my memory is failing (and that's possible) Contador did finish ahead of Evans on a couple of climbs, but not with huge gains. And he sure did show some moxie when he needed a tire change in the last few KMs of one of the climbs and then climbed back up with a vengence.

Would you mind explaining the second part of your post, I'm not sure I understand your point.

Cheers!
 

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AJL said:
Unless my memory is failing (and that's possible) Contador did finish ahead of Evans on a couple of climbs, but not with huge gains. And he sure did show some moxie when he needed a tire change in the last few KMs of one of the climbs and then climbed back up with a vengence.
Yeah, Contador put good time into Evans on all three mountain stages in the Pyrenees - the Alps weren't so decisive although Contador was certainly aggressive on the Galibier.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2007/tour07/?id=results/tour0714
http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2007/tour07/?id=results/tour0715
http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2007/tour07/?id=results/tour0716

Contador was the best climber who wasn't asked to leave the race last year.
 

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He doesn't attack because he can't against the 4-5 best climbers in the world, it's no reason to trash talk him. He knows what his skills are and aren't. There are 170 other riders in the Tour that can't ride close enough to Cadel or the other contenders to be called "boring" for not attacking.
 

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riders used to care about riding with panache; an Hinault would rather lose than win by a boring, calculating approach. Fignon had some great attacks against both Roche and Lemond, though he lost to them both ultimately. Evans is the vanilla ice cream of the peloton (besides by all accounts being a sourpuss) and his head is too big (both metaphorically and literally).
 

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stevesbike said:
riders used to care about riding with panache; an Hinault would rather lose than win by a boring, calculating approach. Fignon had some great attacks against both Roche and Lemond, though he lost to them both ultimately. Evans is the vanilla ice cream of the peloton (besides by all accounts being a sourpuss) and his head is too big (both metaphorically and literally).
+1. Where did European style go?

I've launched a couple attacks in races I knew I would lose just so I could go out with some flair (and get my name called by the announcer for whoever is there watching for me). Better to lose with panache than lose, or win for that matter, by being boring. Also why contador made for a fairly boring giro -- his TdF was much more exciting.
 

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Well, I'd take Evan's ability and boring style over Voeckler's constant attacking and flaming out. (Just naming someone who tends to attack all the time for no result).

I do hope we see some real attacks in the mountains this year. It seems like forever since we had a GT winner come in solo on a mountain top finish. If I recall Armstrong didn't even manage to do it in his last one or two victories.
 

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Einstruzende said:
While Contador may not have been at his best (Attacking for the win in 2007 Paris-Nice comes to mind), he certainly wasn't that far off.
If I understand the translation of the French, he was missing 20 watts at "threshold" (exactly what that means would depend) according to this analysis.

http://www.cyclismag.com/article.php?sid=4230
 
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