BMC Racing will bring some of its biggest stars to January’s Tour Down Under after being offered a wildcard slot by the race’s organiser. George Hincapie and Karsten Kroon will join Australia’s Cadel Evans, the current International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Champion, at the ProTour-opening race.
Race director Mike Turtur, himself an Olympic gold medallist, described Hincapie’s presence at the race as an honour when announcing the news.
“George Hincapie is one of the most recognised riders in the world, with Tour de France stage wins, national championships and professional victories to his credit. He is one of the most respected riders in the peloton,” said Turtur. “Hincapie has got an incredible list of cycling achievements and it’s an honour to host riders of his calibre in South Australia.”
While Tour Down Under might not be a huge target in Hincapie’s season, a stage victory there wouldn’t be his first on Australian shores. The American rider won the Commonwealth Bank Classic’s 14th stage way back in 1995, the year compatriot Bobby Julich finished third overall.
Despite the presence of the three big names, BMC Racing could well turn to Italian Mauro Santambrogio for it general classification hopes at the Australian race. With the other riders focused on goals later in the season, and Santambrogio finishing eighth at this year’s race with Lampre-N.G.C., this approach could be a good fit for the squad.
“As the first race of the season and with so many new riders, it will be interesting to see how they all work together to try to control the peloton,” said Turtur.
BMC Racing will also field Danilo Wyss, Alexander Kristoff and Thomas Frei at the squad’s first outing Down Under.
BMC Racing for 2010 Tour Down Under: Cadel Evans (Aus), George Hincapie (USA), Karsten Kroon (Ned), Danilo Wyss (Swi), Alexander Kristoff (Nor), Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) and Thomas Frei (Swi).