Naturally by going from being mostly a domestique to getting more chances to ride for yourself to eventually becoming a team leader, you'll will get more and better results, which was also the case for Evans. So I agree that in itself it isn't evidence of anything.I didn't comment on this yesterday but this quote deserves a reply.
- Most of us improve at that age. Evans was 26 in 2003.
- Dramatically? Evans's mental outlook improved after his worlds win. Plus he had plenty of great results before then e.g. Commonwealth Games TT gold medal (beating Mick Rogers). The issues at Telekom were complex it was strange they didn't select him to ride the TdF at least to support Ullrich, I haven't read a convincing explanation for that.
- Cadel was fortunate to have hit pay dirt in 2011 before age took its toll. I think his physiological peak (for grand tours) was around the time of the 2007 TdF when he was 30.
Still Evans level grew dramatically before he became WC on the road. He only won the Tour afterwards though, so that may very well have played a part in him finally succeeding, but I can't see him being able to come so close to winning it previously, if he wasn't doing at least the bare minimum.
I have to admit that at the time, I believed Evans could be clean/cleaner than those who beat him, because he seemed more human, never went thermonuclear, usually couldn't follow the very best every single day and could get dropped like a ton of bricks on a bad day.
Today I will gladly take my hat off to him, if he was able to finish 4th on Col d'Aubisque in 2007 on a day after a rest day, where others had received blood transfusions during the night, simply on talent.
Of course it's not impossible that the effects of doping have been largely overestimated in order for the doctors and the "doctors" to make more money, but I still don't find it likely that someone would actually have made it to the top without using PEDs, even if it were possible, because of the way the sport had developed over the years.