Cadel Evans Wins 2011 Tour de France
This year’s Tour de France has had some of the most exciting moments in recent racing with virtually no drama (of the stupid sort) and only one doping doper (so far). Let’s start with the first ever Australian Tour de France winner…
Evans, 34, began his cycling career as a mountain biker and won his first world championship medal in 1995. Later he took up road racing and has a modest collection of achievements as well as 7 Tour de France appearances. In 2010 he finished 26th, far worse than anyone had imagined but he raced the majority of that Tour with a with a hairline fracture to his elbow and knew early on he had no chance of winning but insisted on finishing. I was astonished this year when I hear people questioning his mental toughness.
While Evans’ style and tactics were not as dramatic as the Schleck brothers, nor heroic as Thomas Voeckler’s effort, Evans just never faltered, was strong in the mountain stages and remarkable in the individual time trial. That is where he sealed his win.
It’s been ages since the French had anyone to really get excited about, and Voeckler gave them plenty to root for and think about next year, and the year after. After putting on the yellow jersey in stage 10 he held on until the end of stage 19. Each day most everyone predicted he’d lose it, even himself, but his sheer determination allowed him to hold on. He’s genuinely humble and just a decent person, an exceptional example of good sportsmanship and guts.
Andy and Frank Schleck
The Schlecks from Luxembourg were the first brothers to find themselves standing on the podium together, and I think it’s really something to see two brothers work so well together. Andy has come in second place now for three years in a row, and many people wonder if he can ever take first.
“I am not a loser. Next year I will come back to try to win the Tour again. Now we only have to congratulate Cadel Evans, who rode the time trial of his life and who is a worthy winner…Of course, I am disappointed, but I am still only 26 and there are still plenty of chances ahead of me. I am going to be on the podium with my brother, Fränk, and with a victory at Galibier in an incredible manner. We can hold our heads high” Andy Schleck
This year he accomplished what he set out to do, beat Alberto Contador and place in Paris. He’s a monster in the mountains but his individual time trialing continues to be his Achilles heel. I like these guys.
With the 5 stage wins Cavendish, everyone’s favorite eccentric (or not), has the record for 20 Tour de France stage wins. A record that he will only add to for a few more years to come. He is also the only rider to ever win the last stage three years in a row. Love him or hate him he’s the best sprinter, possibly ever.
With several crashes, an injured knee and likely spent motor from this year’s Giro, winning the 2011 Tour de France was not in the cards for Alberto, but he did manage to pop this ass clown in the kisser on the stage where he asserted himself.
Top 10 details:
1. EVANS Cadel BMC RACING TEAM 86h 12′ 22″
2. SCHLECK Andy TEAM LEOPARD-TREK + 01′ 34″
3. SCHLECK Frank TEAM LEOPARD-TREK + 02′ 30″
4. VOECKLER Thomas TEAM EUROPCAR + 03′ 20″
5. CONTADOR Alberto SAXO BANK SUNGARD + 03′ 57″
6. SANCHEZ Samuel EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI + 04′ 55″
7. CUNEGO Damiano LAMPRE – ISD + 06′ 05″
8. BASSO Ivan LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE + 07′ 23″
9. DANIELSON Tom TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO + 08′ 15″
10. PERAUD Jean-Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE + 10′ 11″
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