Australian Cadel Evans faced a difficult time in the Giro d'Italia's final stage in the Netherlands on Monday. He started out the day in the leader's pink jersey, but found himself isolated and forced to chase solo after being stuck behind a crash with Sky's Bradley Wiggins.
Evans, without a BMC Racing team-mate, lost 46 seconds to a group with Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), who took the leader's pink jersey.
"I was isolated and it is quite nerve-racking because if I have a puncture or something then what can I do?" explained Evans.
"They rode 100 kilometres and then they weren't fresh when they got to the cross-wind [sections]. I am guessing they are pretty frustrated, but I have not spoken to them. At least they have time to rest up for the team time trial."
Evans trails Vinokourov by 43 seconds ahead of tomorrow's rest day. The race recommences Wednesday in Italy with a 33-kilometre time trial.
Overall favourites Ivan Basso, Vincenzo Nibali and Stefano Garzelli were also with Vinokourov in the front group. Evans finished in a group that contained Carlos Sastre. Wiggins took longer to re-start after the crash with Evans and lost a further 3'13".
"I kept myself at the front for 216 kilometres, but then I made a turn and all of the Sky riders hit the ground. I hit the ground too and I was never able to get back up front. It is very frustrating. You keep yourself at front all day then a super team, as they call it, crashes to the ground," Evans continued.
"There was not even wind in that section, why did they have to crash there at 10 kilometres to the line? We were not even going fast. I don't know if the riders don't know how to ride their bikes anymore or they don't know how to concentrate. Obviously, there are traffic islands and so on, which are very cycling friendly for commuters, but you can't see them when racing because they are so small and low.
"I won't lose the Giro d'Italia with 40 seconds, at least I don't think so. I lost 50 seconds once at the Tour de France, though, and I lost it."
Crashes will not be Evans' biggest concern as the race continues, but the depth of his team. He joined BMC Racing at the end of last year following five years with Belgium's Silence-Lotto. Of Evans' team-mates, only three have raced a Grand Tour before.
Frustration from the lack of support and the crash showed as Evans lashed out at a TV journalist at the finish. He laughed it off later, but it had been his first trying moment of this Giro d'Italia.
"At the finish there was the normal lot of questions from journalists and I no longer had patience."
Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit
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