BMC Racing Team reveals Tour de France roster centered around Evans
The nine Team BMC Racing riders who will take the start in Corsica on June 29 include six who were a part of the BMC Racing Team's squad when Evans won the Tour de France in 2011: Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Amaël Moinard, Steve Morabito, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär. Joining them will be reigning world road champion Philippe Gilbert and last year's Tour de France best young rider and Amgen Tour of California winner Tejay van Garderen.
BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz said choosing the final roster was the culmination of a nearly year-long process.
"Selection starts the day after the previous Tour in regards to evaluation, and we take into final consideration the course design and performance and health issues leading up to this point," Ochowicz explained and elaborated "The evaluation of that information was used to select nine athletes and three alternates, who equally earn a right to take the start. But for any one of several of the selection criteria, they (the alternates) just didn't get there." Alternates for the Tour squad are Mathias Frank, Thor Hushovd and Dominik Nerz.
Evans will start his ninth Tour de France coming off a third-place finish at the Giro d'Italia last month. "My recovery and training has progressed well this time as we attempt the 'Giro-Tour double," Evans said. "When I look back at our 2010 attempt, I feel a lot better this time around."
Evans explained he thinks the team assembled around him is even stronger than the 2011 squad. "I am happy to have my three 'guardian angels' – Quinziato, Burghardt and Schär – around me, plus Brent, Amaël and Steve from our successful 2011 team. And with Tejay coming into the mix, we are a lot stronger in the mountains than in past years."
When he last raced both the Giro and the Tour as the reigning world road champion in 2010, Evans finished fifth at the Giro despite suffering from illness and wore the yellow jersey for one day at the Tour before breaking his elbow and finishing 25th. "It will be crucial to be consistent everywhere. In the flat stages and time trials, etc.," he said and added "The climbs will be particularly important this year. Avoiding bad luck is always key as well."
BMC Racing Team Sports Director John Lelangue said the six returning riders form a solid foundation for Evans's battle for the Tour de France victory.
"We have a really strong team and can go to Corsica with a lot of confidence with this team of experienced guys," he explained adding "They are all in good shape and focused on a sole objective. They also have been working well together in one-week races this year, so they know how it is to work for a leader."
Assistant Director Fabio Baldato, who directed Evans at the Giro d'Italia in which Evans finished 3rd overall, said Evans showed in the Giro that he is still always attentive to the little things that can make the difference over three weeks in the same way he was it when he won his first Tour de France champion title.
"Cadel has shown he can be good in all areas – whether it's a technical parcours or a tricky final, he will be there," he said. "We saw this at the Giro. In situations like this, he's good and is always in good position. Plus, he has a great team around him to put him in the front."
Van Garderen, who finished fifth overall in last year's Tour de France and won the best young rider competition in what was his second Tour de France appearance, said winning the best young rider competition is not an objective for him this year.
"The white jersey wasn't a goal of mine last year and it's not again this year," van Garderen explained. "It just came along with me being up there every day, helping Cadel, which is my focus again this year."
Gilbert, a stage winner in all three Grand Tours who is known to focus on personal objectives, said he is putting aside any personal ambitions in order to help Evans. "For me, I am just a helper, but it will be special to be part of the 100th edition of the Tour de France," he said.
The 2013 Tour de France starts in Corsica on June 29 and concludes in Paris on July 21.
BMC Racing Team roster for the Tour de France 2013:
Cadel Evans (AUS), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Steve Morabito (SUI), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), and Michael Schär (SUI).
BMC Racing Team General Manager:
Jim Ochowicz (USA)
BMC Racing Team Sports Directors: John Lelangue (BEL), Fabio Baldato (ITA), and Yvon Ledanois (FRA).
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