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BMC ProTeam status to boost Evans' Tour chances

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Cadel Evans and Tim Roe at the BMC team presentation in Denia, Spain.

Cadel Evans and Tim Roe at the BMC team presentation in Denia, Spain.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Cadel Evans (BMC) checks out his time trial steed.

Cadel Evans (BMC) checks out his time trial steed.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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One of BMC's coveted time trial machines.

One of BMC's coveted time trial machines.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) earned his stripes in 2008 and is determined to return to those levels.

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) earned his stripes in 2008 and is determined to return to those levels.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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BMC maintains a strong Swiss presence.

BMC maintains a strong Swiss presence.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Cadel Evans and Tim Roe wait to be introduced at the BMC presentation.

Cadel Evans and Tim Roe wait to be introduced at the BMC presentation.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Cadel Evans (BMC) is looking forward to a big campaign.

Cadel Evans (BMC) is looking forward to a big campaign.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Tim Roe is one of BMC's rising stars.

Tim Roe is one of BMC's rising stars.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Where do I sit? Cadel Evans enters the building.

Where do I sit? Cadel Evans enters the building.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Cadel Evans shares a joke with Tim Roe at the BMC presentation.

Cadel Evans shares a joke with Tim Roe at the BMC presentation.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Australians to the fore. Cadel Evans and Tim Roe meet the public at the BMC team presentation.

Australians to the fore. Cadel Evans and Tim Roe meet the public at the BMC team presentation.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Cadel Evans (BMC) is focused on the Tour de France in 2011.

Cadel Evans (BMC) is focused on the Tour de France in 2011.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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BMC's Italian clan: Ivan Santaromita, Mauro Santambrogio, Manuel Quinziato and Alessandro Ballan.

BMC's Italian clan: Ivan Santaromita, Mauro Santambrogio, Manuel Quinziato and Alessandro Ballan.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Manuel Quinziato will strengthen BMC in the classics.

Manuel Quinziato will strengthen BMC in the classics.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Brent Bookwalter is one of the strongest time triallists on the BMC team.

Brent Bookwalter is one of the strongest time triallists on the BMC team.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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George Hincapie (BMC) and the bike that will carry him to the Roubaix velodrome.

George Hincapie (BMC) and the bike that will carry him to the Roubaix velodrome.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Larry Warbasse, Taylor Phinney, John Murphy and George Hincapie at the BMC presentation in Denia, Spain.

Larry Warbasse, Taylor Phinney, John Murphy and George Hincapie at the BMC presentation in Denia, Spain.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Taylor Phinney, John Murphy and George Hincapie are among BMC's American riders.

Taylor Phinney, John Murphy and George Hincapie are among BMC's American riders.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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George Hincapie (BMC) leads a strong American contingent.

George Hincapie (BMC) leads a strong American contingent.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Amael Moinard is among BMC's new signings.

Amael Moinard is among BMC's new signings.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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BMC's John Lelangue introduces his riders to the press.

BMC's John Lelangue introduces his riders to the press.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is happy to have a greater Italian presence at the team.

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is happy to have a greater Italian presence at the team.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is looking to put two tough seasons behind him.

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is looking to put two tough seasons behind him.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Tim Roe arrives at BMC from the Trek-Livestrong set-up.

Tim Roe arrives at BMC from the Trek-Livestrong set-up.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)

Cadel Evans believes that BMC’s ProTeam licence will help him arrive at this year’s Tour de France in a fresher state than in 2010. Last season, the Australian began his season at the Tour Down Under and rode for the general classification at the Giro d’Italia as his team sought to earn an invitation to the Tour.

“Last year’s Giro-Tour plan was partly because we were a Pro Continental team and we didn’t know whether we’d have the start in the Tour or not,” Evans told Cyclingnews at BMC’s training camp in Denia, Spain.

BMC’s automatic Tour de France invitation means that Evans will start his campaign almost eight weeks later this season, at the Strade Bianche. The 2009 world champion estimates that he will reach July with around twenty days less racing in his legs than he did last time around.

“One year in my life I have to really concentrate on the Tour and this year, with the period it is in my career and so on, was the year to do it,” he said.

“I’ve always in the past years arrived at the Tour quite fatigued and quite tired and obviously it’s not good for a three-week race. Hopefully I’ll get there a little fresher and have a little bit less bad luck when I get there.”

In the second half of the season, Evans will focus his energies on the Vuelta a España, where he finished 3rd in 2009.

The importance of ProTeam status

BMC directeur sportif John Lelangue explained that the Tour de France will be the team’s major objective of 2011. He also reiterated the importance of BMC’s ProTeam status, as it allows Evans and his teammates to plot out their programme further in advance than last season.

“Of course the Tour with Cadel is very important,” he said at the team presentation in Denia on Wednesday. “We’re building a team around him and being in the World Tour is a very big advantage in that regard compared to last year, as we already know our calendar of races.”

Outside of the Tour, Lelangue expects his men to be a significant factor in the cobbled classics, with Alessandro Ballan and George Hincapie to the fore, while the American calendar, particularly the Tour of California, will also be an important feature of the US-registered team’s agenda.

The development of young talent like Taylor Phinney and Tim Roe is another key part of the BMC’s ethos, and Max Sciandri has arrived as a directeur sportif from British Cycling to take responsibility for that specific task.

“Max Sciandri is totally focused on the young guys, he’ll have constant contact with them and organise training camps,” Lelangue said. As well as handling the team’s Italian calendar with Fabio Baldato, Sciandri will also scout for talent at under 23 and junior races as the team continues to build for the future.

Meanwhile, BMC team president Jim Ochowicz attributed his squad’s ProTeam licence to the solid results obtained by Evans and his colleagues over the course of the 2010 season and to the new signings the team has made to bolster its roster.

“We applied for a ProTeam licence for 2011 and in doing so we felt that we’d done a number of things to allow us to gain selection,” Ochowicz said.

“Firstly, we had reasonable results in 2010. Not outstanding, but results that showed the level of the team. Secondly, we really looked at where we could strengthen the squad for 2011. We felt we put a strong roster together and I’m sure the UCI took a look at that.”

Climber Johan Tschopp is among the new signings who will be on hand to aid Cadel Evans, while Greg Van Avermaet and Manuel Quinziato add weight to the classics line-up. With BMC committed as sponsor until the end of 2014, the team has also made a conscious decision to invest in youth, with American hope Taylor Phinney and Belgian climbing sensation Yannick Eijssen at the head of an exciting new generation of talent on the team.

“We’ll get wins and we’ll take lumps,” Ochowicz said. “But in 2011 you’ll certainly see a development in our performance.”

For Cyclingnews' exclusive photo gallery of the BMC team presentation in Denia, Spain, click here.