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

Tour de France 2010: Pictures



Tour team presentation, Rotterdam



Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special

 

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