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Taking Stock: Halfway through the Tour, Sky is in the driver’s seat


BMC tried to put up a brave face despite the disappointment of ceding time to Wiggins that everyone admits will be extremely difficult to extract.

Evans and Wiggins are largely equal on the climbs, and with a flatter, 53.5km time trial still to come on the Tour’s penultimate stage, BMC knows there’s only one tactic.

“We have to go on the attack, that’s obvious,” said BMC sport director John Lelangue. “Cadel didn’t have his best time trial, but there is still terrain left to be aggressive. All is not lost.”

There’s some quiet optimism that Evans can still unnerve Wiggins, both on the grinding climbs still to come and on the harrowing descents. Evans will have to try something in the coming stages in the Alps if he holds any hope of becoming the first repeat Tour winner since Lance Armstrong in 2005.

Wednesday’s 10th stage heads over the Col du Grand Colombier for the first time in Tour history and Thursday’s 11th stage over the HC climbs at the Madeleine and Croix de Fer ends atop the La Toussuire finish climb.

Evans managed to ambush Wiggins at the Dauphiné on more technical descents, including that of the Grand Colombier, but those within Sky say that mistake will not happen again. Wiggins did not want to risk a crash in June on roads he was not completely familiar with.

With everything at stake in July, Sky will play the numbers game to snuff out any aggression from Evans.

For Yates, a former pro, who took the lead sports director slot at Sky in 2010, the final half of the Tour is all about control and measuring the efforts.

“There are still many days left in the Tour de France. There are still ‘X’ amount of stages to be won, either by a sprinter, by a breakaway or by a climber,” Yates said. “We have a team to control the situation.”