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Australia’s Evans set for Tour de France glory
With only one stage left, Australian Cadel Evans (pictured, centre) on Saturday looked set to become the first Australian to win the Tour de France as he is heading into Sunday’s final stage with a 1:34 lead over his nearest rival.
AFP - Cadel Evans is set to become the first Australian winner of the Tour de France after overcoming his overnight deficit to Andy Schleck in the penultimate stage time trial Saturday.
BMC leader Evans started the 42.5 km race against the clock with a 57sec deficit to Schleck in the overall standings but easily erased that on his way to second place behind stage winner Tony Martin of Germany.
It means Evans will go into Sunday's final stage, a 95 km run from Creteil to Paris - which is traditionally not disputed by the overall contenders - as the new race champion.
Evans, the runner-up in 2007 and 2008, will succeed Spain's three-time champion Alberto Contador who suffered a dramatic collapse in the penultimate stage Thursday to all but drop out of contention.
HTC-Highroad's specialist Martin, who had started his race earlier in the day when the course was still drying after a spell of rain, clocked a winning time of 55min 33sec.
Evans finished only seven seconds behind in 55:40 while Schleck could only come over the finish line in 17th place in 58:11.
Heading into the final stage Sunday Evans, the 2009 world champion, holds a comfortable lead of 1:34 on Andy Schleck, while his older brother Frank Schleck will finish third overall at 2:30.