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|
|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>>
News and features>>
All the riders (start list, list of abandons)>>
Day by day summary>>
Route & stages>>
Teams and riders>>
About the Tour>>
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