With Cadel Evans constructing his season around claiming victory at the Giro d'Italia, his BMC Racing Team have announced a strong eight man team for the Italian grand tour to clinch the maglia rosa in Trieste on June 1. Having secured the overall classification at the Giro del Trentino, Evans will start the race as one of the top favourites in what will be his fourth Giro.
Several of Evans' teammates for the race have tasted grand tour success with the Australian before with Brent Bookwalter, Steve Morabito and Manuel Quinziato having all been part of the 2011 Tour de France triumph, the trio line up in Belfast on May 9 for the Grand Partenza.
"I am delighted with the Giro team we have," Evans said. "I think it will be the best one we have had as a team and I am very happy with the support I will have. They are absolutely committed riders and these are really my guys I trust and know I can rely on."
Having been left contractless after his Euskaltel-Euskadi team ceased to exist, new signing and former Olympic gold medallist Sammy Sánchez makes his grand tour debut for BMC, and his 15th in total at the Giro. Sánchez will be a key ally for Evans throughout the three-week event and Evans stated his delight with the Spaniards inclusion in the roster.
"We are both reasonably experienced riders who have similar habits and a very similar way of racing," Evans said. "Having a lieutenant like Samuel is far more than I could have hoped for."
Since making its grand tour debut at the 2010 Giro, Sport Director Fabio Baldato, said the quality of the squad for the race exceeds any previous edition that BMC has fielded a team at a three-week event for.
"It is an amazing team, a strong team," Baldato said. "Coming from our success at Trentino, a race which brought us a lot of confidence and motivation, I know the shape is there and the team can work well around Cadel."
With a team time trial opening the 97th edition of the race, riders will also face individual time trials of 42km and 26.8km as well as several decisive mountain stages. Baldato is confident the team has the right mix to perform well against the clock to then supporting Evans when the roads start pointing upwards.
"For sure, the last week will be pivotal," Baldato said. "Cadel has seen most of the route and most of the roads of the time trials, or he knows them from last year or past Giro's. So we will be confident from the start that we can do a good team time trial for Cadel and for the morale of the team."
For team president and general manager, Jim Ochowicz, BMC’s performance at the Giro is pivotal to achieving its season-long goals and so far this year, the team with 12 wins, has had its best start to a season since joining the WorldTour.
"Our staff and Cadel have put a professional effort into preparing every detail for this year's Giro d'Italia," Ochowicz said. "Following our early season successes and on the heels of a successful campaign in the Ardennes classics and the Giro del Trentino, we are confident we will carry this momentum into this year's Giro."
Evans rode the Giro last year with limited preparation and finished third overall behind winner Vincezo Niabli (Astana). In 2010, Evans won a stage and the maglia rosa as he fished fifth overall and also spent one stage in the maglia rosa.
BMC Racing Team for the Giro d'Italia: Brent Bookwalter, Yannick Eijssen, Cadel Evans, Ben Hermans, Steve Morabito, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Samuel Sánchez and Danilo Wyss.