Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Wiggle Honda team bike of two-time World Champion
Cadel Evans (BMC) endured a tough day on Prati di Tivo.
Defending champion Evans using race as rehearsal for Tour de France
Team BMC will send its two captains Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen to the Critérium International with the intention of delivering last year’s winner Evans to the overall victory. Evans and his budding teammate van Garderen will use the two-day race as a rehearsal to the Tour de France.
Team management has previously stated that Evans will lead the squad at this year's Grand Boucle while giving the aspiring youngster van Garderen a free role to achieve his general classification ambitions however, the Critérium International may prove to be one of the more decisive moments in the season where, for the first time in 2013, both Evans and van Garderen line-up together. It is also likely to be the only time they race alongside each other before the start of the Tour on 29 June.
"It's really important for both of us, as it is important to race with everyone whom you ride with at the Tour," said Evans. "I look forward to racing with him and getting to know him a bit better in our steps toward a good performance at the Tour," he added.
Van Garderen has so far out-shone his elder teammate in terms of results this year with the 24-year-old recently finishing Paris-Nice in fourth-overall while Evans was unable to progress from his confidence-building third-place at Tour of Oman and rounded out Tirreno-Adriatico in 22nd.
The two-day race features a seven kilometer time trial in the afternoon of the first day on 23 March which will likely suit Evans better than van Garderen.
"It's short [the time trial], so maybe not perfectly suited for me," said van Garderen. "I haven't seen if it's technical or has climbing but I will get a chance to recon it a few days before we do it."
The final stage finishing on top of the Col de l’Ospedale will be the stage that decides the final general classification. Evans won the race last year over the final day’s stage winner Pierrick Fedrigo however, teammate van Garderen may prove to be Evans’ greatest challenger for the title this year.
"I think with Tejay and Cadel and a strong team around them, we have a good opportunity to get another win," said team assistant director Yvon Ledanois.
Team BMC for Critérium International: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Cadel Evans (Aus), Mathias Frank (Swi), Sebastian Lander (Den), Amaël Moinard (Fra), Dominik Nerz (Ger) and Tejay van Garderen (USA).