Ballan still out through injury
With Alessandro Ballan still recovering from his December training crash, the Strade Bianche will be without the two-time runner-up but the BMC will still boast two in-form riders in Cadel Evans and Greg Van Avermaet.
Van Avermaet and Ballan were key protagonists in last year’s edition of the iconic Tuscan race, just missing out on the podium – the latter was fourth while the Belgian rider was fifth. Now, with Van Avermaet coming off the back of his fifth placing at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, it is hoped that he can come up with the goods.
"Cadel will be our leader and Greg is in very good condition too," said Assistant Director Fabio Baldato. "Greg is really a fighter and this race is one for the fighters. He was right there to help Alessandro last year near the end."
Van Avermaet was quoted following last Saturday’s race that "5th place is the confirmation" of his form, despite being frustrated by the result. The Belgian will be aiming for another strong showing next weekend.
Meantime, Evans began his season by finishing third overall at the Tour of Oman. The 36-year-old Australian was due to compete at the GP di Lugano last Sunday but with the race cancelled due to bad weather, Evans was forced indoors on the rollers.
"So far, the start to the season has been good," Evans said. "It's only been Oman, but I prefer to start off at the pointy end of the peloton so it sets the standard for the rest of the year. I look to progress from Oman from here and onwards to Tirreno-Adriatico and so on."
Evans' best-placing in the Strade is 30th in 2011, although he won the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2010 on a parcours which covered the same roads as the one-day event which is on the verge of becoming something of a classic.
The full BMC line-up for Strade Bianche: Adam Blythe, Stephen Cummings, Cadel Evans, Martin Kohler, Taylor Phinney, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet.
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