Evans Ducks Out of Wallonne

With the weather forecast for today’s Fleche Wallonne looking downright appalling, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Cadel Evans has withdrawn from competition as he continues to suffer from the sinus infection that forced his abandonment of last Sunday’s  Amstel Gold. In an official statement BMC Racing team doctor, the appropriately named Max Testa, said, ‘Cadel has the Tour of Romandie coming in one week and with this infection, we don’t want to take any risks… The weather won’t be helpful – it’s going to be rainy and cold.’ The decision leaves last year’s winner, Philippe Gilbert, without his team-mate but hopefully only metaphorically out in the cold.


Before the men take to the Belgium streets, Marianne Vos will be defending last year’s victory in La Fleche Wallonne Femmes, with Emma Pooley and Nicole Cooke chief British opponents, Pooley having won the event in 2010 and Cooke in 2003, 5 and 6.



GreenEDGE Shapes Up

GreenEDGE are continuing their surge to become Australian’s first World Tour team, and with the signing of Stuart O’Grady (over from Leopard-Trek) for the 2012 season and the defection of Travis Meyer, Cameron Meyer and Jack Bobridge (all from Garmin-Cervélo) and the addition of Pieter Weening from Rabobank – the ambition now looks one step closer. O’Grady, the only Australian to have won the Paris-Roubaix classic and a leading team member at Leopard-Trek where he takes the role of “road captain” (the rider who helps decide and coordinate tactics on the fly mid-race), has stated that the chance to ride for “home squad” was one that he couldn’t turn down.


Although Tour de France champion Cadel Evans is thought likely to see out the remainder of his career at BMC he is a long time friend of GreenEDGE mastermind Shayne Bannan and attended a team function in Italy this May – speaking of O’Grady’s move, Evans commented “I was really pleased to see that news, about Stuey going to GreenEDGE… When he (Bannan) does something, he does it properly and he doesn’t lose perspective, he doesn’t lose vision.” Evan’s has also vowed to help out his old friend in any way possible, though jokingly admits that should Bannan end up signing the likes of Contador or the Schleck Brothers to his fledgling team he will, “…help a little less.”



Cadel the Victor & Cavendish Takes Green

Tour de FranceAfter three weeks, 21 stages and more crashed than are almost possible to count – one of the most spectacular being on the Le Mans to Châteauroux stretch which dramatically ended Bradley Wiggins contention – the 2011 Tour de France has rolled to an end.


Clearly time zones meant nothing to Australians as they stayed up through the night to watch their new national hero cycle to victory in Paris. Although the final stage was little more than ceremonial with Cadel Evans having all but been guaranteed Tour de France success by the end of the previous day’s Individual Time Trials it didn’t stop the land down under partying through the small hours in celebration of the first Australian ever to take the Tour crown – the victory also marks only the third occasion that a non-European has taken the prize. The live final broadcast by SBS Television clocked up its highest figures for the year with almost 2.5 million viewers across the country (which represented more than 10 percent of the population.) In addition almost every newspaper front page and sports section featured Evans despite going to press some considerable time before the Champs-Élysées-set win.


The question of how to commemorate the historic occasion is already being hotly debated; statues, monuments and parades have already been mooted, whilst it has been rumoured that Evans himself is in favour of a national day of holiday (unsurprising after the last three weeks of hard work) which some have suggested will be known as “Yellow Day”. Missing either the joke or the national mood, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was quick to rule out the possibility of a national holiday, but still praised Evans for his efforts. Meanwhile the citizens in Barwon Heads outside Melbourn have pitched the idea of naming a bridge near the town in honour of their new favourite citizen.


But whilst Evans relaxed into his ride on Sunday, Mark Cavendish certainly did not.


The moment that Cavendish appeared from behind his HTC-Highroad team mate Mark Renshaw on the Champs-Elysees, was a true Tour de France moment of certainty. The moment it became clear that the Manx Missile would bag the final stage, the moment it became obvious he would take the green jersey and the moment that Cavendish would fulfil a lifetime ambition and prove himself the greatest sprinter of his generation. If that alone were not enough, the occasion also marked the first rider ever to take three consecutive Paris finish wins – indeed until last year’s success in the French capital no one before him had achieved two consecutive wins. Speaking after the race his wonderfully succinct “I am super, super happy!” seemed to be the perfectly judged understatement; the kind of remark that makes the rider such an heroic role model not only on his native Isle of Man, but across the UK and beyond.


Although Cavendish went into this year’s Tour with high hopes, the first real glimpse of the genius that was to unfold came on Stage 5 (164.5km Carhaix – Cap Frehel), where, against expectations, Cavendish managed a masterful uphill finish – arguably the most impressive of his Tour career to date. Despite some setbacks he continued to accumulate the points through to the pivotal 167.5km Stage 11 (Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur) where he took green before consolidating things in the speed stakes with his fourth stage win on Limoux – Montpellier (Stage 15). His only major setback during the three weeks came on Stage 18 when he failed to complete the day’s work within the set time limit, but was fortunately deducted points (20 of them) rather than being disqualified.


Whether Cavendish will return in 2012 with full conviction in defending the green jersey will depend in large part on his plan of attack for the London Olympic Games which start less than two weeks after the Tour ends. But for now, Cavendish can relish his incredible victory and might well like to suggest to the good people of the Isle of Man that they kick celebrations on with a local holiday – “Green Day” would seem an appropriate name.


Final 2011 Tour de France General Classifications


1 Cadel Evans, BMC 86h 12’22”

2 Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek +1’34”

3 Frank Schleck, Leopard Trek +2’30”

4 Thomas Voeckler, Europcar +3’20”

5 Alberto Contador, Saxo Bank Sungard +3’57”

6  Samuel Gonzalez, Euskaltel-Euskadi +4’55”

7 Damiano Cunego (It) Lampre – ISD +6’5”

8 Ivan Basso (It) Liquigas-Cannondale +7’23”

9 Tom Danielson (US) Team Garmin-Cervelo +8’15”

10 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fr) AG2R La Mondiale +10’11”


For further results and analysis see:



Evans Takes le Tour?

It’s all over bar the shouting at the Tour de France with BMC’s Cadel Evans looking certain to be crowned king of the event at tomorrow’s Champs-Élysées finish in Paris – making him the first Australian ever to take the prestigious title. The 34 year old rider completed the rather hilly 42.5km Grenoble-Grenoble Individual Time Trial seven seconds down on the Stage 20 winner Tony Martin of HTC-Highroad (55min 34s) but an all-important 2min 30s faster than the overnight Yellow Jersey (and potential Tour champ) Andy Schleck. Reigning champion Alberto Contador of Saxo Bank took third place on the ITT, but it was too little, too late for the trouble Spanish rider who seems to have struggled at almost every stage of this year’s Tour.


Evans – who has taken second place in the event in both 2007 and 2008 – was wearing his 2009 World Champion shoes for this penultimate stage and commented after the finish: “I get an incredible amount of support and encouragement (from Australia) and to be able to fly the flag over this side of the world is incredible. Twenty years I’ve been cycling and there are some really great people who have believed in me all this time.”



Sky’s the Limit

Wiggins8 days of action are over at the Critérium du Dauphiné with a decisive and important win for Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky. On the final day of action (117.5km Pontcharra – La Toussuire) Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) took the stage win but Wiggins had managed to stay ahead of his rivals since Wednesday’s Grenoble 42.5km Individual Time Trial to bag overall victory; making him only the third Brit to win the Dauphiné (a vital indicator of potential Tour de France mettle) after Robert Millar in 1990 and Brian Robinson in 1961. Team Sky’s Sports Director, Sean Yates, commented: “This is the biggest win Team Sky have had so far, there’s no doubt about that. The Dauphiné is a massive race with a super-strong field and pretty much anyone who’s anyone was here apart from Alberto Contador and the Schlecks. It’s often described as a mini Tour de France and you cannot underestimate the quality of this result, and the team’s performance.”


Cadel Evans of BMC, a runner up in Dauphiné between 2007 and 2009 and winner of this year’s Tirreno Adriatico and the Tour of Romandie, had, many thought, been the man to watch at this year’s event – but ultimately he had to settle for second place with Alexandre Vinkourov (Astana) taking third.


For full results and stage analysis see:



Dauphiné Preview

With the Tour of Luxembourg still in full flow, it’s an exciting weekend of pro-biking which also sees the start tomorrow (June 5) of the ever-exciting Critérium du Dauphiné; 8 days of action which is both something of a warm up for the Tour de France and a frequent indicator of those teams and riders likely to do well in the July Classic. The Critérium du Dauphiné – raced in the Dauphiné region of France – comprises a 5.4km Prologue ride followed by 7 days of stage racing over a total distance on 1,064km and includes an Individual Time Trial stage, which this year falls on Wednesday June 8 and takes place in Grenoble.

Cadel Evans, runner up in Dauphine between 2007 and 2009, and with an impressive 2011 season under his belt (winning both the Tirreno Adriatico and the Tour of Romandie) may well be the man to watch but, as always with the Critérium du Dauphiné, anything can happen during 8 days in the saddle…


The full stage breakdown is:


5 June: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 5.4 km prologue

6 June: Albertville – Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse 144 km

7 June: Voiron – Lyon 179 km

8 June: Grenoble 42.5 km Individual Time Trial

9 June: La Motte-Servolex – Mâcon 173.5 km

10 June: Parc des Oiseaux – Villars-les-Dombes – Les Gets 210 km

11 June: Les Gets – Le Collet d’Allevard 192.5 km

12 June: Pontcharra – La Toussuire 117.5 km


Evans Out of Action

BMC’s Cadel Evans has announced that injury will prevent him from participating in Sunday’s 260km Amstel Gold Race, in addition from keeping him away from Wednesday’s (April 20) Flèche Wallonne at which he had hoped to defend his 2010 title. The Australian – a two-time runner-up in the Tour de France and 2009 World Champion – sustained the injury (described initially as “a small bruise on the knee bone” but now thought also to extend to bruising to the femur) when he crashed whilst cycling near his home in Switzerland on March 31.


Evans has taken a pragmatic approach describing the setback as “…just a little hiccup along the way.” Further complications notwithstanding, he is scheduled to return to race in Switzerland at the Tour de Romandie, which takes place April 26 – May 1.



BMC’s Cadel Evans Takes the Tirreno-Adriatico

The Tirreno-Adriatico has come to a dramatic close with the 9.3km San Benedetto del Tronto Individual Time-Trial stage bringing some 1074km of Italian stage racing to an end. The final ITT saw a win for Leopard Trek’s Fabian Cancellara in 10’33” with Lars Boom (Rabobank) second place with + 01’09” and Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) just 10 seconds adrift from that to take third on the stage.


But final general classification had a win for Australian Cadel Evans (for BMC) who finished with an 11second lead in the overall standings ahead of Dutch rider Robert Gesink (RAB), with a third place awarded to Italy’s Michele Scarponi (LAM). Evans, the 2009 world champion (also the Australian with the highest Tour de France finishes, coming second in 07 and 08) clocked an overall time of 27hrs 37’37” for his Tirreno-Adriatico victory.


For final and stage results see: