BMC Racing have announced the team that will support Cadel Evans in the final race of his career at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Four riders remain from the BMC team that competed at the Tour Down Under, with Samuel Sanchez making his 2015 debut with the team after re-signing late last week.
Notable among the riders who haven't made the 700km journey from Adelaide to Geelong are the Australians Rohan Dennis and Campbell Flakemore. Dennis, the Tour Down Under winner, has returned to Europe ahead of his Hour Record attempt on February 8, while Flakemore is out of action after a post-stage crash during the Tour Down Under resulted in a broken collarbone for the youngster.
The inaugural Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong will see Evans lead the BMC team for the final time this Sunday as he bids a final farewell to professional cycling. "It'll be a big day. I'm intimidated by it all to be honest," Evans said this week.
"I've been doing this for more than 10 years to come in and fly down to Geelong and Barwon Heads. At this time, with my teammates especially coming here some of them for the first time and 100 or so competitors and colleagues to do the same, it's a very special experience."
Joining Evans will be Silvan Dillier and Danilo Wyss, who also provide viable options in the finale for the American team. Michael Schär and Peter Stetina also remain in Australia to help send their captain off in style. The team have been bolstered by the arrival of Sánchez, who is a last minute addition to the roster after months of wrangling saw him finally escape retirement and secure a new contract.
It might be his own event and the last professional race of his career, but Evans is not looking for an easy ride. He expects his rivals to make life difficult for him and says that he's happy to work for his teammates if the time comes. "On Sunday they will be out to beat me and it will be a hard final at least, if not a hard 170ks," he said.
"I think there's about four teams that are pretty determined not to (let me win)," Evans said. "QuickStep, Sky, Orica-GreenEdge and Drapac, they're all going to be doing everything they can to not let me win. We'll see, it'll depend on how hard the middle of the race is and how hard we can race on the last three laps. If it's really selective early on when we get to the final circuits then I'm in with a chance but otherwise I'll probably be there for one of my teammates Silvan Dillier or Danilo Wyss."
BMC Racing for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race: Silvan Dillier, Cadel Evans, Samuel Sánchez, Michael Schär, Peter Stetina, Danilo Wyss.