Yesterday I tweeted that I thought the Tour had many great moments but it wasn’t a great Tour. Almost every individual stage was exciting, but they didn’t string together into a 3 week battle for yellow. That was reserved just for the last week.
Reactions came in thick and fast. Many thought it was the best Tour in ages, others commented that Evans didn’t win it in an exciting way. Counter to what you may expect based on my tweet, I actually expect with the first and disagree with the second.
It WAS the most exciting Tour in years. We’ve had too many Tours in the last 20 years that were decided after one week, so it’s exciting when it goes down to the wire. Last years did too, but Andy Schleck and Contador were so far beyond the rest that spectators were left wanting. 2008, 2006 and 2003 also had close finishes. So to me it was definitely not a bad Tour, I thought it was very good, but memories of the late 80′s where the yellow went back and forth between contenders keeps me from calling 2011 great.
However, I do think Evans won it in a great way. He gets criticized for not attacking enough, but I think that’s unfair. First off, he does attack. It’s true he doesn’t do 20 short bursts like some others, but when you think about it, you only need to do that if your first 19 attacks don’t stick. When Evans goes, he makes sure it matters.
Comments that he didn’t go on long attacks in the mountains, that he didn’t win the way Contador or Schleck would win it, sound silly to me. Beautiful sports is when somebody maximizes his potential, which means Evans winning it the way Evans should win it.
He may not have had a very attacking Tour, but he’s had a very active Tour. When one opponent exposed Contador’s weakness, he exploited it. When another exposed Andy Schleck’s weakness, he exploited that. Those he couldn’t distance in the mountains, he disposed of in what everybody saw coming, the final TT.
Evans made the most of his own abilities, some of his opponents did not. That’s not good riding, that’s great riding.
My one disappointment is that I would have loved to see what Wiggins could have done, a rider with his style could have made GC extra interesting.
What do you think of this Tour?