Evans continues to thrive

Cadel Evans was once again up with the very best after a tough final climb and is relishing it, even

Cadel Evans was once again up with the very best after a tough final climb and is relishing it, even

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

Cadel Evans was in expansive mood at the finish on Mende aerodrome, following a performance which saw him move up one place in the overall standings to seventh, after leapfrogging T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov in the general classification.

Evans, who tagged on to Ivan Basso's acceleration on the steep hairpins of the final climb and then followed race leader Lance Armstrong and T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich, as they accelerated clear of a flagging Michael Rasmussen, again confirmed his status as one of the revelations of the 2005 Tour.

Evans, so it seems, isn't scared of the big bad Tour de France - nor of its long-standing champion, Lance Armstrong, who he had the temerity to outsprint for the honour of 11th (yes, that's 11th.) place.

Afterwards, Evans was unapologetic. "Lance was pretty angry with me. But I had to sprint for it - I'm a bike racer," Evans said. "He said, 'what was that for?' If the opportunity's there I take it and today I went all out.

"What did I say to him? Look, I don't know what day it is, man!" Evans said. "I'm just taking it day by day. All that work and I moved up one place! But we'd said this morning that I could get into the top three on the stage. They had told me it was steep and I'm better on the steeper climbs.

"I took my watch off this morning to save weight," Evans admitted. "I'm sponsored by the Belgian lottery and it looked like I got the right ticket today. Now I hope I have a good time trial, but this is the last week of my first Tour, so we'll see."

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