Karsten Kroon will lead BMC Racing Team in the upcoming Tour de l’Ain, which starts this coming Tuesday. The five-day race kicks off with a 3 kilometre prologue in Amberieu.
BMC’s six man team will contain a mix of youth and experience, with Kroon joined by the likes of Steve Morabito and stagiaire Cole House, who will be making his debut in the professional ranks.
Kroon signed from Saxo Bank at the end of last year and was expected to help lead the team in the Classics but illness and injury prevented him from reaching top form in the spring. He crashed out of Flèche Wallonne and suffered fractures to his nose and cheekbone.
His Tour de France ended without a stage victory but three weeks of racing sharpened his form and he scored his first win of the season last week in a post Tour de France criterium and will be looking to carry that success into l’Ain.
While Kroon will lead the team in the race for the overall, House’s first race will also attract attention. The American has had success on the road in the US this season, claiming a stage in the Valley of the Sun Stage and the International Cycling Classic.
"I’m really excited about my debut.” Cole told Cyclingnews. “I’ve been told there are some tough climbs and I’ll be hoping to show well on them. Of course I want to go there and learn as much as possible.”
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said Kroon will be one of the contenders because it is always a selective race. "It is not a race where you have to have a big strategy around controlling the field because every team only has six riders," Lelangue said.
Kroon’s criterium win aside, BMC have won four European races this season. Cadel Evans won Fleche Wallone and a stage of the Giro with Marcus Burghardt won two stages of the Tour de Suisse.
BMC for Tour de l’Ain: Chris Barton (USA), Cole House (USA), Karsten Kroon (NED), Steve Morabito (SUI), John Murphy (USA), Martin Kohler (SUI).