Basso takes pink jersey after Mortirolo. Evans loses at solitary.

Evans. Lonely again.

On the climb up the torturous Mortirolo, Ivan Basso had Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans had terrible flashbacks.

With the help of his young Liquigas  teammate, Basso attacked, gaining three minutes on Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre and Alexandre Vinokourov. He also knocked David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne) out of first place and slipped on that beautiful maglia rosa.

Meanwhile Cadel Evans was having a recurring nightmare, the one where he’s alone and exhausted on a mountainside with no other rider from his squad to help. The jersey read BMC but it felt exactly like Silence-Lotto, his former team.

Thus his grand tour hopes one again come to a disappointing end, not for a lack of talent, training or will power but simply because he’s playing solitary. A great game for a one day classic or world championship race but a disaster in a three week tour.

“It was pretty tough day. Like they’ve done all week, Liquigas was really strong and can ride a really high rhythm on the climb,” said Evans. “There’s five of them and there’s one of me.” Sadly, there’s no arguing with that math.

There’s been much talk about Evans and Basso both being coached by the same man, Alberto Sassi. According the Sassi, Evans is physically more gifted but Basso is the more mentally tough and tenacious.

The one big difference Sassi failed to mention was on display during the 195 kilometer stage from Brescia to Aprica: Basso had plenty of lime green on his side as usual while Evans rode without back-up.

In the stage four team time trial, BMC could only manage 12th place, 1:21 off the winning time of the strongest team in the Giro d’Italia: Basso’s Liquigas-Doimo squad. In a three week tour like the Giro or Tour de France the final leaders jersey isn’t often won by soloists.

We suspect the only time Cadel Evans gets any help from his team is at the dinner table when he asks someone to pass the fettucini and salad bowl. Twisted Spoke feels for a rider who’s clearly on form, but also completely on his own.

In Mendrisio, Switzerland Cadel Evans won the rainbow jersey of road race world champion with a powerful and confident attack. On Montrilo he was once again exposed as a massive talent still searching for a team as talented as he is.

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  • Henkio

    @Nick: Doesn't matter. As soon as there has been 1 km of 6% or higher Evans will be alone again. BMC have a potentially great classics squad, but for the GT's it's rubbish. Evans knew what he was getting into: a team without climbers run by 2 guys who are at least 'suspect'. At least Lotto tried to get him a team (They couldn't know what would happen to Kohl or Dekker, or that Popovych would start riding like an amateur immediately after his best friend Bileka got caught)

    It also doesn't help that he's not very likeable and doesn't have much friends in the peloton. Take yesterdays stage and imagine Scarponi was Evans: Basso and Nibali would have attacked him until one of them got away.

    /Getting excited for the Eurotrip already Matt? 🙂

    • Henkio, I am starting to freak out with excitement. You never know until you actually buy the ticket. It's bought. Application for press credentials in, likely assignment from Bike Magazine and the super cool Joe Parkin. So yeah, I'll take that beer in Rotterdam. P.S. You got a comment back from Marcus on Evans.

  • Nick

    Will Hincapie, Ballan, Kroon, Burghart and Kristoff help at the tour? Or is it a lost cause? I know Giro riders don’t do well in a tour but he’s done well at two grand tours in a season before. Also will Liquigas hold there form for the tour?

  • Henkio – are you serious?
    Lotto didn’t try too hard to get Evans a Grand Tour team and they tried very hard to make him feel like he was second rate compared to the second rate Belgies on the squad. Difference between BMC and Lotto management is that the former seem to make Cuddles feel secure and happy. This seems to help him.
    He fought tooth and nail throughout the Giro and his win at Montalcino will go down as a “collectors edition”.
    My problem with Cadel (even though I do love him) is that he chose the end of the Giro to say he was suffering from a sickness. No need to mention that my boy.

    See this link for a few of my further thoughts on Our Cadel:
    http://torosvecchi.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/the-good-cadel-and-the-bad-cadel/

  • Henkio

    @Marcus: Sorry, but you are wrong. When Evans joined Lotto it was a two way deal. No serious GT team would even think of hiring Evans as their main TDF contender at the time. Lotto wanted to step up their TDF game and took a gamble with Evans. It worked out pretty well for both.

    Lotto changed their team for Evans, adapting to better material, hiring non-classic riders, hell, even bringing their own cook to the TDF.

    They tried to get him mountain domestiques within their budget (Again, Popovych was a pretty big signing for a team like Lotto and there were more that were way better than Santambroggio).

    In the end it's a Belgian team and so the classics are really important, Evans knew this. Mistakes were made on both sides, but the fact that Lotto hired Moreno as a TDF domestique for next year while Evans was already in agreement with BMC tells me Lotto isn't the only one at fault here.

    In the end Evans got 2nd twice in the Tour with Lotto, while his new happy-feeling team couldn't get the 're-born' Evans a podium at a Giro with a very weak field.

    If Evans ever wanted to win a GT, it's too late. 2008 was his TDF chance, 2009 his Vuelta chance and 2010 his Giro chance. Blew it all.