Speculation has started as to Cadel Evans' team for the coming season, with Sportwereld.be claiming to have exclusive information that the World Champion will sign with the Professional Continental BMC Racing Team.
Team Silence-Lotto announced Saturday night that the Australian was leaving the team one year before his contract expires. The team admitted to being surprised by Evans' action, and has started the search for a replacement.
Evans has not yet commented on the move.
BMC Racing Team, based in the US has signed numerous other big names for the coming season, including former World Champion Alessandro Ballan, US Champion George Hincapie, Marcus Burghardt and Karsten Kroon. According to Sportwereld, the team will announce Evans' signing on Sunday.
As a Professional Continental, or second-tier team, BMC does not receive automatic invitations to major races, including the Tour de France. It would have to rely on receiving a wild-card invitation.
Evans has twice finished second in the Tour de France, but this season dropped to 30th place. He went on to win the World road title in Mendrisio.
Silence-Lotto teammate Philippe Gilbert twittered his surrpise at the announcement, calling it “great damage to the riders and a major catastrophe for the sponsors.”
Team manager Marc Sergeant was as surprised as anyone at the news of Evans' departure. “I didn't see this coming,” he told Sportwereld.
Definite plans for Evans' 2010 season were already in the works, he noted. "Just before the Giro di Lombardia, I talked to him about his programme for 2010. We had already gotten him help in the mountains, with Daniel Moreno."
Sergeant wouldn't speculate on the 32-year-old's new team, preferring to concentrate on his own team. He will now have a lot of money available for a new hire. He even addressed the most obvious candidate. "Contador? I read that four teams are interested. Why not make it five teams?"
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