BMC aiming for Tour de France and Classics

(Image credit: Graham Watson)

BMC Racing Team has two objectives for the 2012 season:  to again win the Tour de France and to be competitive in the Classics.  Defending Tour champion Cadel Evans is poised to take care of the first objective, while newcomers Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd will aim for the latter. The US-based team announced its final 26-man line-up Friday morning.

“We go into 2012 with an arsenal of riders who are competitive in any endeavor in professional cycling," said team president and general manager Jim Ochowicz. "Our goals and objectives are realistic. We are not going to claim we will win this race or that race. But we should be competitive in every race we enter. That's what we want to do. If we win, then that's great, too."

For the Tour, “we want to make sure that in July we have the strongest team there to defend the title," said sport director John Lelangue. "We have acquired riders who will be very strong teammates for Cadel who are classic-type riders. Our objective in the classics is to again take a proactive role. We want to go into each race with the objective that we can do something, and this year we have leaders able to animate the race. In the classics last year, we were present from the first moment to the last."

Evans was pleased with the prospects for the new season. "As a team, we are looking forward and it's clear what our ambition is – to repeat our result at the Tour de France. We go in with an even better, stronger team. I'm looking forward to that challenge.”

The major addition to the team was Philippe Gilbert, who had 18 wins last season, and finished the year as the number one ranked rider in the world. His stunning wins in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne, and the Amstel Gold Race set him up as top favourite for the Classics again his year, but he remained modest.

"I know it was incredible, but I had the support and confidence of a team – which I already have with the BMC Racing Team," he said. "I know that sometimes you can do your best and still come in second, third, fourth or fifth. But I'm ready for this. If I don't win, we as a team will still have done our best to win."

While Gilbert looks to the Ardennes Classics, fellow newcomer and former world champion Hushovd will concentrate on the earlier Classics. "I want to do well at Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix," he said. "It's always been my dream to win Paris-Roubaix and now it's even bigger goal since I'm on such a strong team with a good supporting cast."

George Hincapie is returning for another season at the age of 38, and he is looking to make history by being at the start of his 17th Tour de France next summer. "My career is a lot longer than I could have imagined," Hincapie said. "I've learned not to take anything for granted in the sport I love. That's probably why I've been able to do it so long."

BMC Racing Team for 2012: Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Adam Blythe (GBR), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Mathias Frank (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), George Hincapie (USA), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Martin Kohler (SUI), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Steve Morabito (SUI), Taylor Phinney (USA), Marco Pinotti (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Tim Roe (AUS), Mauro Santambrogio (ITA), Ivan Santaromita (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Johann Tschopp (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay Van Garderen (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

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