Cadel Evans tonight suggested that sloppy tactics by their rivals were smoothing Michael Rasmussen and Alberto Contador's path to Tour de France victory.
Speaking in Loudienveille after losing a further 56 seconds to Ramussen and Contador to add to the 1'52" he conceded at Plateau de Beille on Sunday, Evans said the peloton had ridden "like amateurs" behind a strong Rabobank team.
Clearly exhausted, the Aussie didn't elaborate, but soon stage winner Alexandre Vinokourov's Astana squad and even his own Lotto-Predictor team were in Evans's sights. "Astana gave up their chance of victory today. I don't think they rode well," said the Aussie, presumably referring to the decision to launch Vinokourov in a breakaway, rather than sacrifice the Kazakh for team leader Andreas Klöden.
Klöden was 17 th over the line in the same time as Evans. The German lies 5th on general classification, 5'34" behind Rasmussen.
On his own team's performance, Evans, now 3rd on GC four minutes adrift of the yellow jersey, commented: "I didn't try to go with Contador and Rasmussen because I was on my own. As they did yesterday, they cooperated together against me. When I have half of the peloton against me with their teammates, what am I supposed to do? I'm on my own. Astana has teammates, Caisse d'Epargne, CSC, they've all got teammates and they're not riding. They don't seem to want to win the Tour de France."
Evans had earlier remarked, "I was on my own with 12km to go. My team just doesn't have four riders to bring a break back."
The former mountain biker said that his chances of holding onto a podium place were "getting less and less as [Rasmussen and Contador] take more time.
"They way they are climbing, I have to be realistic: Rasmussen and Contador seem to be on a different level in the hills," he continued. "Maybe a flat time trial would normally give me a chance of gaining time... in theory I would be more suited to the flat time trial than they would be."