Defending Tour de France champion Evans to head BMC team

Defending champion Cadel Evans headlines the BMC Racing Team's roster for the Tour de France, as announced Tuesday by BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz and Directeur Sportif John Lelangue.

Ochowicz said it was not an easy task selecting the eight riders who will help Evans during the three-week race that begins Saturday, June 30 in Liège, Belgium.

"We have a number of qualified athletes, all of whom who could have been a great addition to this team," Ochowicz said. "We're looking forward to a challenging race, but one that we're prepared to take on. What we got out of last year's Tour was that we did a lot of things right and not too many things wrong. We'd like to repeat that this time around."

Marcus Burghardt, George Hincapie, Amaël Moinard, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär are returning from last year's Tour team. Joining them will be three riders new to BMC this year: Steve Cummings, Philippe Gilbert and Tejay van Garderen.

Lelangue said the eight riders joining Evans will solely devote their efforts toward helping him become the Tour's first back-to-back winner since 2005. Seven of the eight raced together at the Critérium du Dauphiné - where Evans finished third - and none of them competed in the Giro d'Italia.

"We have one objective: to defend Cadel's title and bring him to the podium in Paris," Lelangue said. "Everyone will know clearly what their job is during the three weeks of racing. Our roster has a really good balance, especially considering the parcours."

Evans said he is buoyed by confidence gained from his first Tour victory last year in seven appearances. "I know now that I can win it and my lead-up this year is nearly identical to what we did last year," he said. "We're bringing an even stronger team to the Tour this year and the route would seem to favor me. But the time trials will change the dynamics of the race and some of the tactics of my rivals. But like last year, I'll go to the Tour with my own plan, to ride my own race."

In addition to a stage win and third place overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Evans's lead-up to the Tour included a win in the time trial stage of the Critérium International on the way to overall victory.

BMC Racing Team Tour de France Roster

Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Steve Cummings (GBr), Cadel Evans (Aus), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), George Hincapie (USA), Amaël Moinard (Fra), Manuel Quinziato (Ita), Michael Schär (Swi), Tejay van Garderen (USA).

Reserves: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Steve Morabito (Swi).

Directeur Sportif: John Lelangue

Assistant Director: Fabio Baldato

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