2011 Tour de France Postlude
If the 2011 Tour de France had ended after Stage 9, a wag might have dubbed it the Tour de Crash.
Andy Schleck attacked on the Izoard, 60 km from the finish. The "old" Evans might have panicked and tried to go with the Leopard-Trek man, or he might have tossed in the towel. The "new" Evans attempted to get others in the yellow jersey group to work with him. When they failed to do so, he dropped them like a bad habit on the Galibier and cut Schleck's four-minute lead in half.
The following day, during the ascent of the Col du Telegraphe, Contador and Andy Schleck gapped Evans, whose bicycle had a mechanical problem. The "old" Evans might have tossed in the towel. The "new" Evans got a new bike from the team car and waited for the BMC-led yellow jersey group. The day ended with Evans and the Schlecks together and the Grenoble individual time trial looming.
The following day, Andy Schleck donned the yellow jersey for the Grenoble time trial. Sometimes, the yellow jersey inspires a rider, but it did not give Andy and Frank Schleck, who were first and second on GC, enough inspiration. Evans overtook them early in the time trial and poured on the coal, leaving both riders in his wake. Australia had its first Tour de France champion.
Can Evans win again? Time would seem to argue against it. Evans is the second oldest Tour winner and the oldest Tour winner since World War II. He will need to keep improving, but time would seem to argue that there is no more time for improvement. However, the Australian was not expected to win this year. What it all says is this: Races are won on courses, not by prognostications or by amateur Sigmund Freuds who think that they know who has the guts to win. Let's see what Evans does in the 2012 Tour.