Australian rider Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), has been handed the top bib of number one, traditionally reserved for the winner of previous year’s Tour de France or his team, organisers said Monday.
Evans, runner-up in the 2007 Tour, has benefited from the absence of last year’s winner Alberto Contador of Spain and the dissolution of his Discovery Channel team. Contador’s current team, Astana, was not invited to the 2008 Tour due to Astana’s two consecutive Tours of controversy and doping, beginning with the Operation Puerto debacle of 2006 and team leader Alexander Vinokourov’s blood doping offence during the 2007 Tour.
Last year, for the first time in the race’s history, the top bib number started at 11, as organisers decided to leave out 1-10 owing to American Floyd Landis’s absence from the race as he awaited an arbitration decision.
© BikeRadar & AFP 2008