When Cadel Evans (Silence) climbed onto the second step of the Tour de France podium he shook Carlos Sastre?s hand and gracefully accept defeat for a second consecutive year.

In 2007 he lost to Alberto Contador by 23 seconds, this year he finished 58 seconds behind Carlos Sastre (CSC) after again failing to pull back vital seconds in the final time trial stage.

Evans said he was shocked by the performance of Carlos Sastre in the final time trial but after studying the results he realised that he was the one who had a bad day against the clock and lost the Tour de France in the final week.

?There were more dramas than I expected or wanted and fighting for every second at the end was exhausting,” he admitted after the final podium on the Champs Elysees..

“The crash before the race reached the Pyrenees was very taxing and it cost me a fair bit of strength; I used everything I had in the second week and perhaps that?s the price I paid in the third week, I think it showed in the final time trial. I rode consistently and reached all the time checks well but I was just not riding as fast as the other guys. But that?s the way it goes. I?m cursing one Spanish rider, number 29 (Gorka Verdugo of Euskaltel), who brought me down by accident but, well, that?s racing and there are a few years ahead of me yet.”

?To wear the yellow jersey after such a selective week of racing was really something special and it was an experience that I think every bike rider wants to have. I?ve never worn a world championship jersey but it was quite incredible to be in yellow. It?s a good experience and I?ve learned things that will stand me in good stead for future Tours.”

?To come back and finish second and be able to hold off the rider in third? that?s something I?m happy with. And I?m pleased that I was able to continue after the crash. To come back and get yellow was a bonus. There?s always room for improvement otherwise I might have walked away feeling content with eighth place but I?ve done a lot in the last four years to improve on that result.?

TEAM WEAKNESS A KEY PROBLEM

Both Evans and his team management admitted the Silence team had failed to support Evans in key moments of the Tour.

Dario Cioni was ill for a large part of the Tour de France but Yaroslav Popovych was never there to help Evans in mountains, especially on L?Alpe d?Huez when Evans lost too much time to Sastre because he was isolated and under attack.

“CSC had the most incredible team, with three guys capable of winning the Tour so they deserved to win,” Evans admitted.

“It comes down to also the fact they (CSC) have two, two and a half times the budget we do, and straight away that can buy much better quality riders. When people are almost looking at me as the favourite it puts me in a difficult situation. I makes it not an easy task when you’re racing against a team that has three guys who are attacking you.?

?I?VE GOT THREE OR FOUR GOOD TOURS LEFT IN ME?

Evans has gradually moved up the top ten in the Tour de France but has now twice been stopped from climbing onto the top step and pulling on the yellow jersey. He insists he can bounce back next year and finally win the Tour de France in 2009.

“I was having a good progression?eighth (in 2005), fourth (2006), then second (in 2007). From second to first is maybe the hardest step but I think I’ve got three or four good Tours left in me,” he said.

Evans will now turn his attention to the Beijing Olympic Games. He won the time trial test event last year and finished fifth in the road race event. He will ride some criteriums in the next few days before traveling to Beijing at the weekend.



TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Sastre wins 2008 Tour de France, Steegmans takes final stage

Stage 20: Sastre sets up overall Tour victory

Stage 19: Chavanel wins, time trial showdown looms

Stage 18: Burghardt shows that Columbia can win without Cav

Stage 17: Sastre wins on Alpe d’Huez, takes lead

Stage 16: Dessel wins

Stage 15: Schleck takes lead in the Alps

Stage 14: Oscar Freire wins in Digne-les-Bains

Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win

Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three

Stage 11: Arvesen wins

Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second

Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees

Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse

Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage

Stage six: Ricco storms to win

Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win

Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead

Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break

Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint

Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Sastre dedicates Tour success to late brother-in-law Jimenez

Schlecks’ father’s car searched

Analysis: tactical battle on L’Alpe d’Huez [stage 17]

Schleck promises to attack main rivals

Schleck ready to defend Tour lead [stage 15]

Rest day news round-up [July 21]

Saunier Duval riders: “We are honest”

Cavendish talks to Cycling Weekly after quitting Tour

Schleck savours first ever Tour de France jersey [stage 15]

Comment: Why Cav is right to go home today

Cavendish pulls out of the Tour

Barloworld to end cycling sponsorship

Ricco speaks on Italian television

Cavendish joins the all-time greats

Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli

Tour bosses say fight against doping continues

Ricco denies doping at the Tour

Saunier Duval pull out of Tour

Tour’s top ten changes

Ricco positive for EPO at Tour

Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary

Cavendish battles through Pyrenees

Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]

Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour

Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]

Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]

Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders

David Millar: the dope controls are working

Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour

Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit

Doping back in Tour de France headlines

Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]

Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]

Millar to go for yellow [stage six]

Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]

Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win

Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]

Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]

Who is Romain Feillu?

Cavendish disappointed with stage two result

Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey

Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?

Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec

Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win

Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage 20

Stage 19

Stage 18

Stage 17

Stage 15

Stage 14

Stage 13

Stage 12

Stage 11

Stage 11

Stage 10

Stage nine

Stage eight

Stage seven

Stage six

Stage five

Stage four

Stage three

Stage two

Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS

Life at the Tour part five

Life at the Tour part four

Life at the Tour part three

Life at the Tour part two

Life at the Tour part one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

Tour de France 2008 homepage>>

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Day by day summary>>

Route & stages>>

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