BMC Racing was without a helper for Cadel Evans in the final climb to the finish yesterday in the Tour de France. Sky at one point, out-numbered the defending champion four to one going up La Planche des Belles Filles.
“We don’t have the climbers that some of the other teams have,” Jim Ochowicz told Cycling Weekly, “but we have strong bike riders here, who know what they’re doing.”
Tejay Van Garderen was the last rider with Evans, but lost ground to the leaders with four kilometres to climb to the finish. In addition to losing three minutes, he lost the young leader’s white jersey.
The American held the white jersey since day one, when he placed fourth in the prologue time trial in Liège, Belgium. The efforts to protect the jersey may have cost him, according to Evans.
“Tejay expended a lot of energy in the first week and he paid for that on the first climb yesterday,” Evans said outside the team bus to about five reporters.
He added that there was not much he could do yesterday, given Sky employed Mick Rogers, Richie Porte and Chris Froome to protect Brad Wiggins.
Evans tried to attack in the final 500m for the stage win and crucial seconds, but saw Froome pass by. Froome took the stage win, Wiggins took the race leader’s yellow jersey from Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan).
“You want to take seconds when you can, but when I’m solo and they’re in three, there’s not much I can do,” Evans said. “Yesterday’s finish had flat sections, where they can come back with their numbers even if you are riding better.”
Ochowicz hopes that his mountain men – Van Garderen, Amaël Moinard and Steve Cummings – will improve with time.
“OK, some of their [Sky’s] guys are just better climbers naturally. I’m not going to pretend that we have another rider that compares with Froome. We’ve got Cadel,” Ochowicz continued.
“We’re healthy. I think you’ll see more of our people get their climbing legs. They can go up hills, they’re not going to be racing to the finish line, but they’re going to be in those climbs and doing their jobs.”
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