RUPERT GUINNESS June 09, 2012
Sizzling form ... Wiggins. Photo: AP
THE stage-four time trial at the Criterium du Dauphine lived up to its reputation as ''the race of truth''. The stage revealed where Tour de France favourites, among them defending champion Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins, stand less than two weeks out from the race start in Liege, Belgium.
Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
The good: Emphatic win by 34 seonds over German Tony Martin, to whom he was second in last year's world titles. Cadel Evans, who started two minutes before, was in his sights near the end.
The bad: None.
What it means: Confirms status as a major Tour contender and sends a warning to rivals that with more than 100 kilometres in time trials in the race they had best gain time on him in the mountains - if they can.
What he said: ''I don't think you can look at it too much. It's six weeks now until the final 'TT' at the Tour and that's a long time - a lot can change.''
Michael Rogers (Sky)
Result: Third at 1 minute, 11 seconds
The good: Moved him up to third place overall at 1.20 to Wiggins. Showed his strong condition and also reflected the confidence and control he has over his power output.
The bad: None.
What it means: Brought him into contention for an overall podium finish. Also should lock in Olympic selection for one of Australia's two spots in time trial.
What he said: ''Nothing is confirmed yet [about Olympic selection]. They're weighing up who is going the best and in the best condition.''
Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE)
Result: Seventh at 1.38
The good: Looked strong from the start, but really impressed with how he ramped up his effort at the back end.
The bad: If he had started harder he may have finished even higher. Achilles sore on Friday, so withdrew from race.
What it means: Confirms he has the engine to race against the clock at extended distances, and that he is one of Australia's hottest time trial prospect.
What he said: ''I was going into the unknown with my effort. I gauged the effort well, although I might have been a bit too conservative at the start.''
Cadel Evans (BMC)
Result: Eighth at 1.43
The good: Steady start and finished strongly. Eighth, under the circumstances, was not a bad result.
The bad: Dropped from second overall at 1 second to Wiggins to fifth at 1.44. Didn't cite losing his drink bottle early as an excuse but to have raced alone and against the clock without being able to rehydrate properly would have cost him.
What it means: Has room for improvement for Tour but knows he can make up the difference.
What he said: ''I was OK on the narrow curving opening and closing kilometres, but I couldn't get my power down on the long open straights.''
Richie Porte (Sky)
Result: 30th at 3.28
The good: Started OK, but then that was about it. Not short of effort though.
The bad: Appeared to labour with the windy conditions and course not suiting.
What it means: Should still be safe for Tour selection, but this may have cost him his Olympic berth.
What he said: ''I was disappointed, but it wasn't a course that suited a smaller rider … once I saw the conditions I knew it wasn't going to be my day.''