This was the day Evan’s became great. It was a bigger day even than the one when he made the bold attack to take the Worlds win the September before. The reason why is because he showed real style (panache) in when he crossed the line he was mindful to wipe down the mud off the World Champions jersey to make sure everyone could see the glory of the Rainbow Stripes.
So often the World Champions road season after the win has been a lack lustre affair and they never managed to win much, so fueling the fire that the ‘Rainbow Jersey had a curse’. Of course we all know this to be complete nonsense as we’ve seen in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s (although the end of the decade may have started this) win some great races. Cadel showed that whatever race he entered he wasn’t just turning up to show the jersey off. In that years Giro (2010) he finished 5th + 3′ 27″ down on Basso. I think on that final day his team mates believed he could win, after placing so high in possible the hardest Grand Tour in modern times. The Tour (de France) didn’t go to plan as a crash rendered his elbow with a hairline fracture. He finished the Tour in a lowly (although many would have packed in) 26th 50min 27sec behind eventual winner Alberto Contador.
Although the Tour did not go to plan I truly believe that the seeds had been sown on Stage 7 in the Giro that he could win the Tour. As the peloton appears (at least from the outside) to be a bit cleaner I am sure that Evans has benefitted from this as the speeds on the climbs are no longer turned up to eleven. The crazy attacks and accelerations in speed on climbs became less, with the top riders manaing three, maybe four at best. Voeckler would not have survived in the mountains if the same use of EPO was as rife. Either that or we have all been fooled again by some new wonder drug or proceedure.
Cadel has always had the potential to be a Grand Tour winner, that was obvious from his first appearance in 2002 when he finished 14th (but from memory was 2nd at one point in the race). Look at the list of riders above him and it makes for interesting reading with the benefit of hindsight. So a big congratulations to Cadel, it’s been well deserved.