The BMC Racing Team has confirmed it will send a strong team to the Tour Down Under with former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans as captain. New signings Rick Zabel and Ben Hermans will make their debut for the team in the first WorldTour race of the 2014 season that begins on January 21 in Adelaide.
Evans was announced as the captain of the team which also includes the USA's Brent Bookwalter, Amaël Moinard from France, Zabel, Hermans and the two Swiss riders Steve Morabito and Danilo Wyss.
Sports director Fabio Baldato thinks Evans has a good chance to get BMC a result early on in the season.
"The Tour Down Under is a pretty difficult race to start the season with. Stages 1, 2 and 3 are hard so it's important to start well," the Italian said in the statement from the BMC team announcing its Tour Down Under line-up. “It’s important to have a strong rider who is prepared for the race. In Cadel, we have the best rider to make a result.”
Evans hasn't raced the Tour Down Under since 2010, when he finished sixth in the overall classification as reigning world champion.
"I haven't been able to race there since 2010 because I've always been working toward the Tour de France," Evans explained in October.
"But with me going for the Giro, it gives me the opportunity to race in Australia at the race which has become the real season start and the meeting point for the world of cycling at the beginning of the year. So it will be something special, especially racing in front of a home crowd."
The Santos Tour Down Under starts on the 21st of January in Nuriootpa and finishes in Adelaide on the 27th. Richie Porte (Team Sky), Fränk Schleck (Trek Factory Racing), Robert Gesink (Team Belkin) and 2013 winner Tom Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) are among the riders confirmed for the 16th edition of the race.