The body responsible for organising the Tour de France has stuck by its ban on the 2007 Tour champion Alberto Contador and his Astana team. This leaves the way open for Aussie Cadel Evans, or does it, asks Mike Tomalaris.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

The clock is slowly ticking for Cadel Evans and his date with destiny at the Tour de France.

Barring a turnaround of the highest order, it seems Tour organisers will not renege on their decision to ban Alberto Contador from taking his place at the start line on July 5.

No Contador means Evans will start a raging hot favourite to win - or will he?

With less than four weeks to go, one senses the Australian may be starting to feel the pressure.

Take stage 2 of the Dauphine Libere - traditionally regarded as a TdF warm-up.

Evans was involved in an mountain-top sprint with many of his Tour rivals.

He finished 5th.

It's by no means a final form guide for July, but it does prove Evans won't have it all his own way over the three week race.

Alejandro Valverde is in good form.

For years the Spaniard has promised so much but hasn't quite delivered on the biggest stage.

In 2007 he finished 6th overall while his results this year suggests he's timing his Tour run to perfection.

He's the complete allrounder - this was underlined by winning the Liege-Bastogne-Liege and securing third place in the Amstel Gold race in the European Spring.

Evans is not leaving anything to chance.

For the first time he will employ his own personal bodyguard for the Tour's duration and supply his own food and chef - all this in order to stand on the top step of the winner's podium in Paris.

The whole experience is another learning curve for Evans as he prepares for the biggest race of his life.

Expectations are certainly high.

Let's hope he's ready to fire, it doesn't go pear-shaped and he doesn't leave France empty-handed.