BMC Racing Team will go to the 2011 Tour de France with one aim; to take home the yellow jersey in Paris with their team leader and former world champion Cadel Evans. The Australian, who has complained of lack of support in the past, will enjoy the devotion of one of the strongest Tour teams he has ever been a part of.
Evans has had a spectacular season to date, winning Tirreno-Adriatico before taking his second Tour of Romandie at the beginning of May. After taking a brief break, he recently returned to racing with a creditable second at the Criterium du Dauphine [for the fourth time in the race], and looks to be in good form going into his seventh consecutive Grande Boucle.
Joining Evans for the three-week event that begins July 2 are; Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, George Hincapie, Amaël Moinard, Steve Morabito, Ivan Santaromita, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär.
Lelangue said the two-time Tour de France runner-up [2007, 2008] will have fresh legs around him, as no one on the squad competed at the Giro d’Italia. “We have a well-balanced team – between the experienced classics riders, who will help keep Cadel out of trouble – as well as the riders who are there for the middle and high-mountain stages,” Lelangue said. “We also have a good squad for the team time trial, even if it is a short one.”
BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the team recognized the need to bolster its support for Evans, who held the race lead for one day at last year’s Tour before being diagnosed with a broken elbow. Evans went on to finish 26th.
“Last year versus this year, we are in a better position to take on the Tour de France,” Ochowicz said. “We recognized we needed to get a little bit more support for Cadel in the mountains. But we still have guys with lots of experience like George [Hincapie] and [Marcus] Burghardt to help him, too.”
Hincapie will be making his 16th Tour de France start, tying Joop Zoetemelk’s participation record. A three-time U.S. national road champion, Hincapie has finished 14 Tours and also brings a wealth of experience to the team, having been on Tour winning team on eight previous occasions.
Two notable absences from the team’s Tour de France line-up are Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santombrogio. The pair were provisionally suspended before the Giro d’Italia after allegations resurfaced regarding their links with the Mantova investigation. The two were recently re-instated to racing status, but have been overlooked for the Tour.
BMC Racing Team Tour de France Roster (July 2-24); Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Cadel Evans (Aus), George Hincapie (USA), Amaël Moinard (Fra), Steve Morabito (Sui), Ivan Santaromita (Ita), Manuel Quinziato (Ita) and Michael Schär (Sui).