BMC look for answers as Evans is rolled over

Before the halfway stage of the Tour de France, an unprecedented British victory in Paris later this month moved a step closer to reality.

For defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia, who lost nearly two minutes to British rival Bradley Wiggins on Monday, the time is approaching to look for like-minded racers who can help him defend his 2011 crown.

Wiggins, who took the yellow jersey Saturday on the first hilltop finish, produced a stunning individual performance on the race's first time trial to claim his maiden stage win on the race.

His time of 51min 24sec for a 41.5 km race against the clock was 1min 43sec faster than Evans and 2:07 faster than Italian contender Vincenzo Nibali.

With Chris Froome in second at 35secs and moving up to third overall 14secs behind Evans, Team Sky could not be in a better strategic position two days before the first of two stages in the high Alps.

By this time last year Wiggins had crashed out injured and Evans was the best placed of the authentic yellow jersey contenders.

But even the Australian, who lost no time to Wiggins on the climbing stages held so far, admitted his surprise that the Londoner and Kenyan-born Froome had "got first and second in the time trial".

"They were exceptional," he said.

BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz could only agree.

"I think that Wiggins and Froome both had a great day today, obviously," said the American.

BMC had used Fabian Cancellara, the four-time world champion who had posted the provisional best time prior to Evans' start, as their benchmark. The Swiss would eventually finish third at 57sec behind Wiggins.

"He's our gauge most of the time when we go to time trials like this... because he's the benchmark, and they pretty much took care of him, and they left everybody else even further behind," added Ochowicz.

"I can't say Cadel rode a bad time trial. He rode his normal type of time trial in this scenario."

BMC sports director John Lelangue also tried to put a positive spin on their setback.

"We're a little disappointed, but Cadel and Tejay both did good time trials," said Lelangue. Young American Tejay Van Garderen did even better than Evans finishing in fourth at just 1:06 behind Wiggins.

Using aggressive tactics with riders in similar situations in the mountain stages is now likely to be on Evans' agenda.

But while Lelangue considers his options on the race's first rest day Tuesday, he tried to remain upbeat.

"We've got two weeks left so we'll be looking at things closely to see what we can do," added the Belgian.

"There's two weeks for us to try and think about our attacking strategy and then we'll see how things lie before the last time trial of the race.

"It's in each rider's interest to play his own attacking game, but it's far too soon to start talking about alliances."

When asked the same question, Ochowicz was equally coy.

"We don't know yet. We'll have a lot of time to kick this around and come up with a strategy for the races that are coming around at the end of this week," he said.

"Obviously the game has changed a bit more in their direction but the race is long from over."

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