Cadel Evans' bid to become the first Australian winner of the Tour de France's yellow jersey has been given a boost, following his Silence-Lotto team's announcement of their roster for the race.
Evans finished runner-up to Spaniard Alberto Contador by only 23 seconds last year, although this year Contador and his Astana team have not been invited to the July 5-27 epic.
On Friday Silence named their team for the race and all of them, with the exception of Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen, will be riding in support of Evans.
Evans is currently competing in the Dauphiné Libéré stage race, a crucial warm-up for the Tour and in which he has appeared to show no signs of the tendonitis that had hampered his left knee last month.
After the Dauphine, which ends on Sunday, Evans and some of his key Tour teammates will head for a training camp at the Stelvio, the formidable climb which overlooks the Italian alpine town of Bormio, from June 20-27.
Silence's Tour de France team: Mario Aerts (BEL), Christophe Brandt (BEL), Dario Cioni (ITA), Cadel Evans (AUS), Leif Hoste (BEL), Robbie McEwen (AUS), Yaroslav Popovych (UKR), Wim Vansevenant (BEL), Johan Vansummeren (BEL). Replacements: Bart Dockx (BEL), Roy Sentjens (BEL).
© BikeRadar & AFP 2008