Cadel Evans will compete at the Tour de France for nothing less than the maillot jaune.

The 35-year-old entered the 99th edition of the race as defending champion but yesterday finished seventh overall and more than 15 minutes off the pace of British winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky).

“If I come back it’s for the win, yeah,” Evans told Cycling Weekly at the start of the final stage to Paris.

“After winning the Tour I don’t know if I’d be motivated to come back to go for anything less.”

Evans looked slightly off colour at the end of the race struggling with allergies and recovering from intestinal problems that knocked him back after the second rest day. The former world champion is hopeful of making a speedy recovery before Saturday’s London 2012 Olympic Games road race where he will represent Australia. Evans has also been selected for the men’s time trial on August 1.

“I’ve got everything going on at the moment,” he said. “My main thing was I was running on empty after a stomach problem in the last week.

“I just need a couple of days rest and I think I’ll turn around. There’s six days rest after three weeks of racing, it’s actually quite a big block of rest for us.”

Evans gave all in his title defence and praised the support of his  teammates including American Tejay van Garderen, who won the white jersey.

“Yeah, I gave it everything I had but when you’re running on empty you can’t push very hard unfortunately,” Evans said. “I went into the (penultimate) time trial (stage) and just rode within my limit with disregard to the result.

“This year Mickey (Michael Schar), George (Hincapie), Quincy (Manuel Quinziato) they were just incredible. (Marcus) Burghardt he was even better than he was last year. He was in the decisive break three days in a row.

“Tejay was racing for the young rider’s jersey. Obviously on Toussuire I would have been minutes without him but otherwise he was pretty focused on his young rider’s jersey.”

Evans extended his contract with BMC last year, after becoming the first Australian to win the Tour, and it will see him through to 2014.

 

Twitter: @SophieSmith86