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Evans set to become first Australian to win Tour

Julien Pretot

Cadel Evans was set to become the first Australian to win the Tour de France after leapfrogging the Schleck brothers.

Cadel Evans was set to become the first Australian to win the Tour de France after leapfrogging the Schleck brothers in a final time trial won by Germany’s Tony Martin on Saturday.

The BMC rider, who finished second in the Tour in 2007 and 2008, started the 42.5km trial around Grenoble with a 57-second deficit to overall leader Andy Schleck of Luxembourg and four seconds behind Frank Schleck.

Evans (34) took second place in the penultimate stage—seven seconds adrift of Martin, who clocked a best time of 55 minutes 33 seconds.

Evans now leads Andy Schleck by 1:34 going into Sunday’s final parade to the Champs Elysees in Paris, with Frank Schleck in third place overall and 2:30 off the pace, according to provisional results.

It will be the first time that two brothers finish together on the Tour de France podium.

Three-times champion Alberto Contador of Spain finished the time trial with the third best time, 1:09 off the pace, and will finish fifth overall.

Evans, who finally started to live up to expectations in 2009 when he won the world championship, got off to a strong start.

At the first intermediate time check after 15 kilometres, the tide had already turned as Evans had shaved 36 seconds off Schleck’s advantage.

The Australian, who won the Tirreno-Adriatico race and the Tour de Romandie this year, took the virtual lead after some 20km and there was no looking back.

His face a mask of pain, Andy Schleck was helpless as the gap dramatically widened in the second part of the stage. - Reuters

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