IT IS now or never for Cadel Evans.
The Australian knows after yesterday's rest day, stages 16 and 17 will present his final chances to outgun Tour leader Bradley Wiggins in his bid to retain his Tour De France crown.
Depending on the state of his legs, Evans gets the chance on stage 16 to make a statement on what some pundits regard as the 'Queen stage' of the 99th Tour.
The stage features the mighty Col Tourmalet and Col d'Aubisque, both considered so challenging they are regarded 'beyond category', as well as category-one climbs up the Col d'Aspin and the Col de Peyresourde.
As punishing as some of the ramps are on Tourmalet and d'Aubisque, the descending is just as demanding, especially if the weather is treacherous.
Evans knows he has to take risks but also knows Wiggins and Team Sky will be watching his every move.
"The way they are riding at the moment, if I get there (in a breakaway) and there are three or four of them (Sky riders), the odds are really stacked against you," Evans told Fox Sports. "Realistically, the more of them there are and the less of me there is, the odds are lesser - unfortunately.
"It's difficult because they have really built a team that's designed for these kind of stages, where they can regroup and collect and recover any time."
Evans finished in the peloton with Wiggins on stage 15 into Pau.
Frenchman Pierrick Fedrigo claimed the win.
It was the fourth stage win for France this year, and third of Fedrigo's career - when he outsprinted American Christian Vande Velde.
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