Evans bids to close gap on Wiggins
Defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans launched a long-range attack in an effort to eat into his deficit to Bradley Wiggins on stage 11 today.
The Australian accelerated out of the Team Sky-led peloton with 81 kilometres of the 148km route from Albertville to La Toussuire remaining.
Evans, who began the day one minute 53 seconds behind Wiggins, had support from BMC Racing team-mate TJ van Garderen on the day's second hors categorie (beyond category) climb, the Col de la Croix de Fer, the summit of which came 55km from the finish.
Michael Rogers, Richie Porte and Chris Froome, who began the day third overall, accompanied Wiggins at the front of the peloton and the Team Sky riders appeared unflustered by Evans' move.
The Australian's gain was marginal and Van Garderen had to slow his pace so his team leader could stay with him.
The high tempo of Rogers and Team Sky saw Evans reeled in quickly as the immediate threat was extinguished.
But it was an indication of what Wiggins and Team Sky were set to expect on the final climb to La Toussuire.
Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) led a group of seven riders over the summit and began the descent, which was immediately followed by the day's third categorised climb, the category two Col du Mollard.
Alongside them were Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan), Irishman Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank), Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) and Vasili Kiryienka (Movistar).
The yellow jersey group were two minutes behind, with Evans behind Team Sky's four-man climbing squad.