Cadel Evans faces a rough ride in the next two weeks of the Tour de France if he is to defend the leader’s yellow jersey.
The Australian of BMC Racing took the top spot yesterday at the end of the race’s first high-mountain stage. He fended off early attacks from his main rivals, including Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) and eventual stage winner Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank).
Luxembourg’s Schleck played his cards wisely, though. He won the stage by 10 seconds over Evans and yet made sure he did not take the yellow jersey too early. He trails Evans by 20 seconds in the overall.
The jersey is one of the most prestigious tops in cycling, but it comes at a price: daily press conferences, doping controls and the responsibility of controlling the race.
“To get the yellow at the Tour de France is always something special,” said Evans today. “To swap the [World Champion] rainbow jersey for the yellow jersey is a rare honour.”
Evans, unlike two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador (Astana), does not have a strong mountain team. Yesterday, he was left with only Steve Morabito prior to the final climb up Avoriaz.
Now, with the yellow top, Morabito and Evans’ other six team-mates will be called on regularly to ride at the front and defend the lead. Their work starts tomorrow, after today’s rest day, with a mountain stage to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.
With Evan’s crash yesterday in the opening kilometres, he is taking his rest day literally. He rode for a few hours and then received physiotherapy for his sore left arm, injured in the crash.
“But my legs are still going,” added Evans, “which is the important thing right now.”
Tour de France 2010: Latest news
Tour de France 2010: rest day review (July 12)
Armstrong’s Tour de France dream ends
Sky’s objective clear ahead of Tour’s high mountains
The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views
Thomas: ‘Yellow jersey would be unbelievable
Analysis: The role of Renshaw
Cavendish strikes back in Tour de France
Thomas happy with Tour’s white jersey; but says ‘All for Brad’
Wiggins crashes on Tour stage start
Cavendish and Farrar return to top
Cavendish keeps up fight for first Tour win
Sky delivers Boasson Hagen to third without pressure
Tour de France 2010: Stage reports
Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white
Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up
Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour
Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims
Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC
Stage three live coverage: As it happened
Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa
Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters
Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win
Tour de France 2010: Photos
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one gallery
Prologue photo gallery
Tour de France 2010: Videos
Stage seven video highlights
Stage six video highlights
Stage five video highlights
Stage four video highlights
Stage three video highlights
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights
Prologue video highlights
Tour de France 2010: Race guide
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Official start list, with race numbers
Brits at the Tour 2010
Tout team guide
Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins