Cadel Evans woke up this morning in Pau in a very different place than where he was one year ago. This year at the Tour de France, he has had his back to the wall and been on the attack, but without success.

Sky controlled defending champion Evans just as it had in the Critérium du Dauphiné one month ago. It maintained a safe distance to his attack on the Col du Glandon on Thursday and even rode more time into him on the day’s final climb in La Toussuire.

Instead of an Australian positioned to win, today Evans sees that Great Britain may score its first victory in the Tour de France.

“Sky have just shown their strength, they’ve come out firing. They’ve got eight riders here, the seven of them riding on the front have just been incredible,” he said last night, ahead of today’s second rest day.

“Their performance in the time trial from their two leaders was also incredible. Their riders have all come on in the best form of their lives. They ride a continuous tempo that’s leading the climbers pretty empty when they get to the final. It’s making it difficult to do stuff.”

When the riders enjoyed the race’s second rest day last year, Evans maintained a position of power over his rivals. Bradley Wiggins was at home with a fractured collarbone. Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador had to attack to gain time ahead of the final time trial, where Evans eventually seized the yellow jersey.

Sky controls the race this year. Wiggins leads by 2-05 minutes over team-mate Chris Froome, 2-23 over Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and 3-19 over Evans (BMC Racing).

Evans tried to shake Sky’s grip on the race in the 11th stage to La Toussuire. After Sky caught him, he suffered and lost 1-26 minutes on the finishing climb and saw Nibali move ahead.

“Bike racing’s always a gamble. Sometimes you try something, but the more you risk, the more you have to gain, but also the more you have to lose,” said Evans the day after his attack. “In retrospect, it wasn’t a successful move, but you don’t want to get to Paris thinking I should’ve done something more. Overall, someone had to try to do something and no one else was going to do it, and they sort of left it with me.”

Evans wants to wake up in Paris with a different view on Sunday morning. He wants to wake up as he did last year, with the yellow jersey in his suitcase. He has two more chances to turn the tables, tomorrow’s stage to Bagnères-de-Luchon and Thursday’s stage to Peyragudes.

He added: “the more time you lose, the more remote the chance becomes,” but he must be thinking of another way to strike Sky in the next two days.

Tour de France 2012: Latest news



Evans suffers multiple punctures after Tour tack attack



Froome not winning this year’s Tour is ‘very great sacrifice’



Frank Schleck criticises ‘boring’ Tour de France



Wiggins: Cycling’s new boss?



Wiggins still Sky’s main man as Tour heads towards Pyrenees



Millar’s Tour win comes after ‘second chance’



Froome explains his attack on La Toussuire



Nibali fails to crack Sky but pleased with Tour mountains performance



Roche ready to achieve career-long Tour top ten ambition



Wiggins: ‘I’m not some s**t rider that’s come from nowhere



Nibali hits out at Wiggins after Tour frustration



Cavendish enjoying new Tour role



Wiggins taking nothing for granted in ‘dream scenario’



Sky keeping Tour focus on Wiggins



Di Gregorio arrested by police at Tour de France


Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list



Tour 2012: Who will win?



Tour de France 2012 provisional start list



Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports



Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton



Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank’s Tour



Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage



Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last



Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back



Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour



Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT



Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks



Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage



Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage



Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades



Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes



Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne



Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory



Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt



Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs



Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles



Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials



CW’s Tour de France podcasts



Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs



Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries



Stage 15 by Graham Watson



Stage 14 by Graham Watson



Stage 13 by Graham Watson



Stage 12 by Graham Watson



Stage 11 by Graham Watson



Stage 10 by Graham Watson



Stage nine by Graham Watson



Stage eight by Graham Watson



Stage seven by Graham Watson



Stage six by Graham Watson



Stage five by Graham Watson



Stage four by Graham Watson



Stage three by Graham Watson



Stage two by Andy Jones



Stage two by Graham Watson



Stage one by Graham Watson



Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones



Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler



Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson



Tour de France 2012: Team presentation



Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage



Stage 10 live coverage



Stage nine live coverage



Stage six live coverage



Stage five live coverage



Stage four live coverage



Stage three live coverage



Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish



Brief history of the Tour de France



Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever

 

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  • KWC

    Never liked Postal… Nor Armstrong.. Big time cheater… But the way SKY rides is weird.. Only seen one team ever ride like this in the tour.. Ever.. Guess What? They all DOPED…. You guys in the UK hated watching Armstrong and his team because you knew that they cheated. His team always up front. His team looked like a Team TT on the last climb.. But now that SKY looks the same way you turn your heads.. Who’s the hypocrite now?

  • Tourmaniac

    “Bike racing’s always a gamble. Sometimes you try something, but the more you risk, the more you have to gain, but also the more you have to lose,” said Evans the day after his attack. “In retrospect, it wasn’t a successful move, but you don’t want to get to Paris thinking I should’ve done something more. Overall, someone had to try to do something and no one else was going to do it, and they sort of left it with me.”

    The one opportunity I felt like the other teams had to isolate Wiggins was wasted. Can’t remember which stage it was, but Froome was leading Wiggins up a climb and went to the back of the 4 or 5 man line, leaving Wiggins on the front. If there had been an attack, Wiggins would’ve had to respond and Froome might have been dropped. But there was no attack and Froome was able to get a bit of a rest and come back to the front. C’MON!!! Cadel nothing ventured, nothing gained. You can’t afford the status quo. C’mon Nibali, try to put some time into Froome and see what happens! Make them earn it!

  • JD

    I love the way some US fans slate Sky for being a bit like US Postal. Well I don’t remember many of the same fans slating US Postal when it was in its pomp because Armstrong and Co were ‘Team USA’ and that was just great.

    Now that Team USA isn’t as impressive all of a sudden they smell doping in every other team’s success. A bit late with your hypocritical critique guys!

  • KWC

    Evan’s comments are right in line with how Team Sky is performing.. Unreal and a lot like the US Postal team or a.k.a Pharmstrong. I thought that riders try to get their racing legs while racing but not true for Mr. Froome. One race this year before the tour. But has the form to win it. Rogers pulling up to the last climb. I though he was TT guy. What a joke..