After Cadel Evans finished down in 74th place in place in the Critérium International time trial, he tweeted that he was going to help “our young Tejay” in the race.
We thought that turn of phrase was revealing because despite the fact that Evans finished 15 minutes down the GC on Van Garderen, he still considers the kid too young to be BMC’s leader in the Tour in France. It’s like Tejay is one of Evan’s puppies — worthy of a pat on the head but nothing more.
After Sky’s Chris Froome and Richie Porte finished one-two in the Critérium International, Van Garderen admitted his BMC squad had plenty of work to do. “We are obviously going to have to step our game up if we’re going to be competitive with them,” he said. Tejay is getting very skilled in his use of understatement.
The question is whether Evans, at age 36 and behind schedule, can step up his game to a Sky-high level before Le Grand Shindig begins on June 29th. Right now, only Andy Schleck looks further behind schedule — then again Andy is ahead of schedule for the 2014 Tour.
According to Evans, the story really isn’t his form or lack thereof, it’s a mental issue and one that’s not even his problem. “There is some short-term memory from the media. I had a virus last year and I still was seventh in the Tour de France,” said Evans.
No arguing on that one. Evans is a tough competitor and always 110% committed to arriving at the Tour in optimal shape. However, the words he uses to describe his build-up don’t inspire confidence that he can smash the Sky machine. It’s a young man’s job and Evan’s needs more than marginal gains to knock out Froome.
When Evans is quoted saying things like “I have to be cautious with my progression” and “I’m behind but it’s a slow and steady progress towards the Tour,” you have to wonder if “our young Tejay” is now the better captain.
Obviously, Evans doesn’t see any reason he shouldn’t be the boss man. “Of course on paper Tejay was better than me but people seem to forget what I have done on the Tour de France in the six years preceding 2012,” said Evans. “I did actually win the Tour once before.”
Twisted Spoke has to question whether a 36 year old rider recovering from a year- long virus and who admits he’s behind schedule is the guy to step up the BMC game. We have tremendous respect for Evans but we’ll be surprised if Van Garderen doesn’t become the BMC captain on the roads of France this July.