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Evans wins time trial

AUSTRALIAN Cadel Evans looked on track for next month's Tour de France with a convincing victory in the opening 12.1-kilometer time trial of the Dauphine Libere stage race on Sunday.

On a short course running through the streets of Nancy, France, the Silence-Lotto rider beat Alberto Contador of Spain, the 2007 Tour de France winner, by eight seconds.

The 2008 Dauphine Libere champion Alejandro Valverde of Spain finished third, 23 seconds back.

Evans told reporters: "Beating Contador by eight seconds is a nice surprise. I made two minor mistakes and I'll have to analyze it later on, but overall it went well."

Second in the 2008 Dauphine Libere and twice a runner-up at the Tour de France, Evans felt his form was a little better than this time last year.

"I stopped racing after the Tour of Romandie (in early May) and this win shows I made the right decision.

"It's possible I'll try to win overall here, but first let's see what happens in the race's long time trial on Wednesday."

Evans will wear the overall leader's jersey for the race's second stage, a 228-km leg from Nancy to Dijon. The Dauphine Libere finishes next Sunday in Grenoble.

"We'll see where I'm at when we reach the mountain stages. I think I'm in the same shape, physically, as I was in 2008," Evans said. "I'm fresher mentally. But I'll only know more once we reach the mountains."

The Dauphine race is a traditional warm-up for the Tour de France, where Contador will try and win the race for a second time. He will ride in the same Astana team as seven-time champion Lance Armstrong.


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