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ALPE D’HUEZ, France (VN) — Cadel Evans comfortably matched Alberto Contador’s early acceleration on the Col du Telegraph Friday, at least at first. He soon realized something was wrong, looking to his rear wheel and stopping twice before eventually taking a complete bike change.
“I was sitting well when [Contador] attacked, but feeling pretty average,” Evans said after the stage. “I think there was something wrong with my rear wheel and it was slowing me down a bit. When there was an acceleration it put me over the limit which seemed a bit strange. For that reason, I changed bikes.”
Something wrong indeed: Evans’ wheel was rubbing against his chain stay. That mechanical dropped Evans off back of Contador and Schleck, forcing him to chase up and over the Telegraph and the Galibier.
“When they’re going pretty fast and you have to stop three times, the chances of getting back by yourself are pretty limited,” Evans said of the incident. “I nearly got across to Sanchez, within 20 meters or something, but with the descent coming up I was just trying to take on a bit of energy. That’s the edifference between getting on his wheel and not,” he added, before thanking his teammates who eventually help pull the race back together.
BMC mechanic Ian Sherburne confirmed the mechanical issue, but wouldn’t go into detail. “Cadel did have a mechanical today. There was an issue with the bike and we decided to do a bike swap. Sometimes it’s safer just to make the change. That’s all I can say right now.”
Given the symptoms, likely causes would be a broken spoke, loose skewer, broken dropout or issue with the rear hub itself.