The BMC team has announced that Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has extended his contract with the team through to 2014, while George Hincapie have signed a new contract that will see him continue to race in 2012, his 18th season as a professional.
The team also announced that Evans would close out his 2011 season in Colorado, where he will compete in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. It will be the Australian's first race in the US since the 2006 Tour of California.
"I'm looking forward to competing in the U.S. in one more stage race before I close out what has been a dream season," Evans said. "I've heard good things about the race in Colorado and I know it won't be easy. But I'm up for one more challenge."
After winning the Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie and coming second in the Critérium du Dauphiné, Evans is the UCI's number one ranked rider, leading by 92 points over Belgian Philippe Gilbert.
Ending his season in August, Evans will not compete in the world championships in Copenhagen, according to BMC directeur sportif John Lelangue. "With the worlds in Copenhagen this year being more for sprinters, Cadel wasn't expecting to go to the worlds," Lelangue said.
BMC retains its veterans
The team confirmed that Evans and Hincapie will continue on with the team, with the American on for another year and Evans staying put through the next three seasons.
"Having these two return to the BMC Racing Team next year allows for our continued growth by having our two captains stay on board to provide leadership and mentoring to others in our organization," Team President and General Manager Ochowicz said in a statement from the team.
"In George's case, we need him to help the young guys like Taylor Phinney and Greg Van Avermaet keep developing. For everyone else, he creates leadership in the classics and at the Tour de France."
The statement said that other announcements regarding BMC rider extensions and acquisitions will be announced at the appropriate time. Talented American Tejay Van Garderen is rumoured to be joining BMC, with classics riders Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd also linked to the US-registered team.
"I feel that as a team, we have grown successfully together. It's been an enjoyable and satisfying journey so far,” Evans said in the team’s statement.
From the start, I have always felt the BMC Racing Team has had a lot of confidence in me as a member and often as a leader of the team. So a longer term contract echoes this. I look forward to the years ahead. We will keep working and progressing toward the future."
Hincapie confirmed he would race in 2012 during the spring Classics and is looking forward to playing a key role in the team.
"I'm really excited to continue the success of the team. My two years with the BMC Racing Team has been even better than my expectations,” Hincapie said.
“Being able to help Cadel win the Tour de France was a career highlight for me. To be able to continue on for another year offers me more opportunities to extend the goodwill of the team."