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Evans slips out of Giro d’Italia race lead, but not out of the fight

BAROLO, Italy (VN) — Rigoberto Urán gave Colombia its first pink jersey in Giro d’Italia history today and soured Australia’s party. His time trial win in Piedmont’s wine hills gave him the win, ended a 10-day Aussie run, and pushed Cadel Evans off the top.

“If we look at the time differences between second, third and fourth, they are quite close today,” said Evans, BMC Racing’s team captain. “But Urán was in a class of his own in today’s time trial.”

Evans continued Australia’s party when he took over the pink jersey from Mike Matthews on the Montecopiolo stage. He held a 57-second lead over Urán that he built after a crash in stage six, and via bonus seconds.

Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) turned that upside down today. He rode 1:17 faster than Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) and 1:34 better than Evans, who was third on the stage. The time gain put Urán on top of the Giro’s pink classification results sheets by 37 seconds. Pole Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) sits third overall at 1:52.

“Urán was suited to the course and had a good day,” Evans said after looking down the provisional results. “I expected him to do well, but I hoped to have gone better than I did.”

Evans became Australia’s first Tour de France winner in 2011. He is now fighting to do the same at the Giro. If he succeeds, he would also become the race’s oldest winner, at 38.

Evans will  have time to think about that over the 157km stage around Turin and up north to Rivarolo Canavese on Friday. The stage is mostly flat and suits the sprinters. He will have to consider how to upset the Colombian and defend himself from the Pole over his shoulder as the Giro treks eastward to Trieste. En route, the race features uphill finishes to Val Martello, Panarotta and Monte Zoncolan. The party kicks off this Saturday with an 11.8km finishing climb to the Oropa Sanctuary.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Evans said of the GC race ahead. “I think we’ll see a new team with the responsibility to control the race.”

Though Italian Vincenzo Nibali ran away with the race overall last year, Evans knows a little bit about the responsibility of defending himself in the Alpine Mountains from Turin to Trieste. Last year, he held off Urán for second place until the final mountain day up Tre Cime di Lavaredo, where he slipped to third overall.

“I’m not just going to give up after today’s loss,” Evans added. “I’m looking ahead to the mountains to come, because this Giro is still very long.”

Italian Fabio Baldato joined BMC Racing as a sports director after racing professionally. He has been at Evans’ side for the last few years and agreed there is still much to be decided before the final stage on Sunday, June 1.

“Urán was a step above the others today and pulled off a big number,” Baldato said. “The race is still open, though. Cadel has the capacity to keep going even when it’s not a super day. We have half the Giro to do something and overtake Urán.”