World Champion Evans leads BMC in maiden Tour de France

Hincapie and Ballan among those supporting Australian

Cadel Evans will lead BMC Racing Team in the Tour de France, supported by US national champion George Hincapie and former world champion Alessandro Ballan.

"The best result for the BMC Racing Team is looking to the highest step on the podium," said Directeur Sportif John Lelangue. "With Cadel, we come to the Tour clearly with one objective – one leader. All of the team will be focusing on supporting him."

The rest of the team is equally strong: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Mathias Frank (SUI), Karsten Kroon (NED), Steve Morabito (SUI) and Mauro Santambrogio (ITA). Four of the riders on the squad have won Tour stages; Evans, Hincapie, Burghardt and Kroon.

World Champion Evans, 33, has been on the final Tour podium twice, finishing second in 2007 and 2008. He was 30th last year, 45 minutes down.

This season he has won the Flèche Wallonne and finished fifth overall in the Giro d'Italia, winning a stage and the jerseys for the points and Azzuri d'Italia classifications. He wore the leader's jersey for one stage.

The 2010 season has started well, and he hopes that it becomes even better. "Leading into the Tour, things seem to be coming together," Evans said. "For me, the Giro was a bit more fatiguing than I expected, possibly because of the health problems I encountered.”

American George Hincapie will be making his 15th tour start, and warned of the cobblestones in the first week of the Tour. "There are cobblestones in the mix and small roads and wind and possible bad weather conditions, so it can be very hectic," he said.

Ballan missed the Giro d'Italia as the team had placed him on inactive status due to concerns raised in the Mantova doping investigation regarding his former Lampre-Farnese Vini team. "I was most worried about not returning in time to be selected for the Tour de France," Ballan said. "I had hoped to help Cadel at the Giro but was unable to participate. Now I can work 100 percent for him at the Tour."

Bookwalter burst on to the international scene this spring when he finished seond in the opening time trial of the Giro d'Italia. Burghardt most recently won two stages at the Tour de Suisse, plus the points classification.

BMC Racing Team for the Tour de France: Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Cadel Evans (AUS), Mathias Frank (SUI), George Hincapie (USA), Karsten Kroon (NED), Steve Morabito (SUI), and Mauro Santambrogio (ITA).

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