Former World Road Champion Alessandro Ballan leads a group along the highway, en route to the ocean.
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Cadel Evans and George Hincapie to lead US team in July
Team BMC Racing director sportif Mike Sayers was understandably pleased with the news that the American team secured a place in this year’s Tour de France. Cyclingnews were in fact the first to inform Sayers that the team had won one of the 22 spots handed out by race organisers ASO before the start of the first stage of the Three Days of De Panne.
“That’s good news and ever result counts as the Tour selection is very tight,” he said.
BMC shocked the sport late in 2009 when they signed World Champion Cadel Evans. The Australian bought himself out of his contract with Lotto just days before joining the US-team, that had also bolstered their squad by signing George Hincapie (Columbia), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre), Marcus Burghardt (Columbia) and Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank).
So far this year the BMC team has failed to win a single race, Evans being their best performer with three podium places. However the signings made during the winter were what impressed ASO enough to give the team a wildcard entry ahead of Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil.
“Cadel put us over the top and George brings his own results and experience that you need on a team. He’s a poster person for our team and we appreciate it,” said Sayers.
Asked if he was confident before the announcement that the team would be invited to the Tour de France, Sayers said: “You never take anything for granted. Me, I’m relieved as I have something to do during July. There’s relief but we’re of course disappointed for the teams that didn’t make it because I know they’re trying equally as hard and they deserve a spot too but that’s the name of the game, you can only have so many teams.”
BMC will bring Evans to the Tour as their hope for the overall. He has twice finished on the podium, in 2007 and 2008, but had a disappointing race last year. As world champion he’ll be aiming to do the rainbow jersey justice with a strong showing.
“Well you have Cadel. He’s going and you aim for the podium that goes without saying. We also have some excellent riders in support in guys like Thomas Frei and some of the Americans. We have an excellent support base in the riders and an excellent GC rider and excellent stage winning potential in George.”
The 22 teams invited to the 2010 Tour de France: Team Milram, Quick Step, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Team Saxo Bank, Caisse d'Epargne, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Footon-Servetto, HTC-Columbia, AG2R La Mondiale, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Francaise des Jeux, Lampre-Farnese, Liquigas-Doimo, Astana, and Rabobank, Garmin-Transitions, Team RadioShack, BMC Racing Team, Team Sky, Katusha, and Cervelo TestTeam.
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