Ballan to defend Tour of Poland title

BMC rider in "excellent" form after Tour de France

Alessandro Ballan has been announced as the BMC team leader for the upcoming Tour of Poland, starting on Sunday, August 1. The former world champion intends to defend his title at the week-long stage race in Eastern Europe, where he won a stage last year before taking the overall classification.

"Ballan comes out of the Tour de France in excellent form," said John Lelangue, sports director at BMC. Ballan placed second in the 15th stage of the Tour after having finished third at the Italian Championships in June.

"Of course, people will be marking him, so he won't have the same freedom as last year. But remember that he was wearing the rainbow jersey last year," added Lelangue.

While he is more of a Classics specialist than an overall contender at stage races, Ballan will give his all at the seven-stage event, totaling 1,276 kilometres. It is the only race the 2007 Tour of Flanders victor won during the last season.

Ballan will be supported by the following teammates during the Tour of Poland: Chris Butler, Alexander Kristoff, Mauro Santambrogio, Florian Stalder, Jackson Stewart and Danilo Wyss.

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