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Evans set to make history as first Australian Tour de France winner

The face of a champions. Evans celebrates claiming the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.
The face of a champions. Evans celebrates claiming the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.
  • Cadel Evans set to be crowned Tour de France champion
  • Evans will become first Australian winner of cycling's most prestigious race
  • BMC star came second on Saturday's 20th stage in Grenoble
  • He leads Andy Schleck of Luxembourg by over a minute

(CNN) -- Cadel Evans will make history tomorrow as the first Australian winner of the Tour de France after a brilliant performance in Saturday's individual time trial left him with a commanding lead over his nearest rivals.

BMC's Evans started the 42.5 km race in Grenoble against the clock with a 57 seconds deficit to Andy Schleck in the race for the yellow jersey, but easily overhauled the Luxembourg rider as he finished in second place behind 20th stage winner Tony Martin of Germany.

Evans, the 2009 world champion, will go into Sunday's concluding stage to Paris with a one minute 34 second lead over Andy Schleck, whose older brother Frank Schleck will finish third overall as he trails by two minutes and 30 seconds.

It's a dream come true for Evans, who has twice been a runner-up in cycling's most prestigious race.

I can't quite believe I've done it
--Cadel Evans

"I can't quite believe I've done it," he told AFP.

"It's an incredible day for us, for Cadel and for the sport in general," said his BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz.

Evans came in just seven seconds down HTC-High Road's Martin, who clocked a winning time of 55 minutes 33 seconds.

Defending champion Alberto Contador finished third on the stage, just over a minute down, but is only fifth in the standings after faltering in the Alps on Thursday to lose his crown.

Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck trailed in 17th, but could only applaud the new leader.

"Cadel raced the time trial of his life," he said.

Frenchman Thomas Voeckler, who bravely held on to the maillot jeune for 10 days, is in fourth place, 37 seconds ahead of Contador, but lacked the time trialing skills to challenge for a final podium place.

Sunday's 95km final stage is expected to see Britain's Mark Cavendish wrap up the green jersey as he bids for his fifth stage win of this year's Tour.