The Tour de France, which began on Saturday, July 2, finished yesterday, Sunday July 24. Cadel Evans of BMC became the first Australian to win the Tour in the race’s 108-year history, and the second oldest (at age 34) in the post-war era. Evans finished the tour with a time of 86h12m22s, 1m34s ahead of Andy Schleck of Team Leopard Trek from Luxemburg.
Entering the 20th, and second-to-last stage, the time trial at Grenoble, Evans was 3rd in the general classification (GC), trailing Schleck by 57 seconds for lead. So while Evans would not have to win the stage (in fact, Tony Martin of HTC actually won the stage with a time of 55:34), he would have to beat Schleck by at least 58 seconds. Evans, however, not only made up the 57-second deficit, but gained an additional 1m34s advantage over Schleck – more than enough to vault himself into first place in the overall standings. Evans finished 2nd on the stage to Martin, with a time of 55:41. This means that on the 26.5 mile course (42.5km), the fastest riders were averaging speeds close to 29mph – on their bikes!
After the 20th stage, Evans knew he had the Tour victory wrapped up. Except in cases of extremely slim margins, the GC title is not contested on the final stage, so Evans did not have to worry about Schleck making up any time as they rode on the Champs-Elysées.
While this is Evans’ first Tour de France victory, he has an impressive career of results, including Road Race World Champion in 2009, first place at La Flèche Wallonne last year, and first place at the 2011 Tour de Romandie. He has also taken 2nd place at the Tour twice, in 2007 and 2008.
Another Year, Another Tour
Did you watch the Tour this year? What did you think of Evans’ chances? With the Stage 9 crashes taking several favourites out of contention, did you pick Evans to win? Any predictions for next year? Did you see any of the Tour in person? Have you travelled in France with your folding bike?