The 40-year-old has previously been sceptical of Porte’s ability to mature into a real Grand Tour contender, citing inconsistency and obvious “bad days” as part of that.
“Richie’s had a few opportunities to prove himself and he’s been really good but he hasn’t been consistent,” Evans told Cycling Central in 2015. “Physically he has the characteristics to do it … when he has an off-day it’s obvious which his off-day is.”
But Evans, days out from the 104th edition of the race, has changed his stance.
Standing in a corner of the BMC pre-race press conference on Wednesday, the BMC ambassador said he believed Porte had enough experience and was now mentally and physically equipped to deal with those “off-days” and overcome them. Porte has if nothing else been consistent this season and despite some mistakes has recorded pertinent stage victories and race titles on the way to Le Tour.
“In the past, especially in the first years, he had that problem, but it’s also dealing with it. Everyone has a bad day, but it’s how well you can deal with that is what sets the good GC riders from the very best GC riders,” Evans said.
“He’s shown in his results to be more consistent. I think what people forget about Richie is he came into the sport quite late as well, so relative to the results he was getting he was a little bit inexperienced.
“But now with all that experience under his belt, a good solid team behind him and most of all, the most important thing for Richie this year is that they’ve just been consistent and solid all year through. They come here not only physically and mentally well prepared but mentally convinced of what they can do.
“If they do everything right it’s not an unrealistic goal, it’s a very achievable goal to be on the podium in Paris.”
BMC was the team that delivered Evans to his long-awaited Tour title victory in 2011.