The BMC Racing Team confirmed that it has signed World Champion Cadel Evans to a three-year contract on Sunday. The Australian was released from his Silence-Lotto squad by mutual agreement with the team on Saturday, and the US-registered team was heavily rumoured to be his new team.
"Cadel brings a wealth of experience in the Grand Tours to the team," BMC Racing Team co-owner Jim Ochowicz said in a press release.
Grand Tours? The team has yet to participate in the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France or Vuelta a Espana, but the squad has made no secret of its ambitions to do so in 2010.
"As I said earlier, our team will have multiple chances to measure ourselves against the greatest teams in the world. We are pleased that we will have the opportunities to send out our most successful riders, now including Cadel Evans, to tackle these challenges," Ochowicz added.
Toward that end, the squad hired several top riders for the upcoming seasons, including former world champion Alessandro Ballan, US champion George Hincapie, Karsten Kroon and Marcus Burghardt.
Evans made it clear that he is still targetting the Tour de France as a major goal.
"I look forward to working with a new team, in a new environment, towards my same goals; honouring the rainbow jersey at the highest level of the sport, and ultimately at the highest step of the Tour de France podium.
"Obviously, I would like to do better than my two second places at the Tour de France," he said.
The 32-year-old has spent the past five seasons with the Belgian squad Lotto, progressing quickly from mountain biker turned stage racer to standing on the podium at the end of three Grand Tours. However, after he twice fell short in the Tour de France, in part due to lack of help from his team, there was much speculation that he would seek another opportunity.
"I would like to thank the Silence-Lotto team for the opportunities they have given me," Evans said. "The last five years have brought some great experiences whilst working alongside some great individuals. Thank you."
Director Sportif John Lelangue countered doubts that the team would have trouble getting into the Grand Tours and other major events, expressing confidence the new recruits would attract the attention of the race organisers and earn the squad the necessary wild-card bid.
"We have a plan to go to the biggest races, including the Grand Tours. That includes the Tour de France," he said. "This will be possible since our sporting level has greatly increased in standard."
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