The Tour Down Under organiser has offered BMC Racing Team a wildcard to contest January’s opening round of the ProTour, in a move that will see International Cycling Union (UCI) road world champion Cadel Evans race on home soil in the rainbow jersey. Evans had been rumoured to start the race with his former ProTour team Silence-Lotto following his worlds victory, but since last weekend’s announcement of his move to the Professional Continental squad Evans has remained mum on the topic.
That changed with today's announcement, which is sure to please local fans. “It’s a privilege to be able to present my new jersey and my new BMC Racing Team to the Australian public and the rest of the world at the Santos Tour Down Under in January,” said Evans in a release from the South Australian Premier’s office.
The offer of a wild card entry to BMC Racing Team, which has been verbally agreed on, is a first for the Tour Down Under. Since becoming a round of the UCI’s ProTour, race organiser Events South Australia has only invited the UniSA-Australian National Team to join a full complement of ProTour squads.
South Australian Premier Mike Rann was clearly enthused by the idea of having the current rainbow jersey riding alongside Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong. Rann explained having an Australian rainbow jersey at TDU would be a first for the event; a given as Evans is the nation’s first road world champion.
“Never before has an Australian competed on Australian soil wearing the rainbow jersey, so it’s a great coup for South Australia that Cadel will do so at the 2010 Santos Tour Down Under,” said Rann. “Evans’ decision to race in the Santos Tour Down Under is another boost to the event which showcases South Australia to the world.
“No doubt cycling fans will not miss the opportunity to see both Cadel Evans and his BMC Racing Team compete in the 2010 Santos Tour Down Under,” he added.
Negotiations between BMC Racing Team and the Government to officially sign off on the acceptance and details of the wild card are continuing. The number of teams to compete at the 2010 Tour Down Under will be confirmed by early December, once the UCI has issued all ProTour licences, said the organiser.
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