News24

TDF leader Evans shuns media

2010-07-12 13:07

Morzine - Australia's reigning world champion Cadel Evans has displayed a new determination in his bid to keep the Tour de France yellow jersey this year after shunning media on the race's first rest day.

Evans took the race lead after the first big climbing test on Sunday when he finished in a group of favourites 10 seconds behind Andy Schleck as the Luxemburger soared to the stage win at Morzine-Avoriaz.

The Australian now holds a 20 second lead on Saxo Bank leader Schleck, who along with Astana's reigning champion Alberto Contador, third overall at 1:01, is a hot favourite to win the race.

In 2008 Evans's team Silence-Lotto held a garden party to celebrate him taking the race lead, which he later lost to Frank Schleck before the Luxemburger's Spanish team-mate at CSC, Carlos Sastre, beat Evans to overall victory.

This time, there will be no celebrations. Evans, who suffered a forearm injury in a crash early on Sunday's stage, has decided that his day will be filled with training, rest and some physiotherapy.

In a small audio interview issued by his BMC team, Evans admitted to feeling "honoured" by being among the few world champions to wear the race's coveted tunic.

"For me personally, of course, getting the yellow jersey at the Tour is always something special," said Evans.

"To swap the (world champion's) rainbow jersey for the yellow jersey is a rare feat that I've had the honour to experience.

"But it's also for the team and all the work we've put in together, not just for the Tour but building the team and everything."

Evans said he made a gift of his yellow jersey to team sports director Jacques Michaud, who was celebrating his birthday.

"It's so nice to walk down the dinner table with the yellow jersey and give it to Jacques Michaud who's birthday it was," he added.

"For everyone who's put in work trying to build this team, it's really a nice reward for everyone."

A final day of racing in the Alps is held Tuesday, when the peloton tackles four mountain passes, including the 25.5km ascension of the Col de la Madeleine whose summit is 30km from the finish in the valley of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

In the third week four days in the Pyrenees, followed by a long time trial on the penultimate stage, will be crucial in deciding the yellow jersey winner.

Although hurting from his tumble near the start of Sunday's stage, Evans said his legs are responding well.

"I've got a very sore left forearm, but the legs are still going which is the important thing, that is what the main concern is right now," he added.

"It's a little bit uncomfortable right now. Hopefully with a good night's sleep I should be alright.

"I'll try to take it as easy as possible, and get as much physiotherapy as possible on my arm."

AFP