Ballan, Van Avermaet to lead BMC Racing Team in Santos Tour Down Under
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ballan, Van Avermaet to lead BMC Racing Team in Santos Tour Down Under

by VeloNation Press at 5:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
Evans to start season at later point

Greg Van AvermaetAs expected, Tour de France champion Cadel Evans will forgo the Santos Tour Down Under in order to start his season a little later, with another past rainbow jersey wearer instead leading the BMC Racing Team into the event.

Italian rider Alessandro Ballan and the Belgian Greg Van Avermaet will be the protected riders on the squad, with both competitors’ ability on undulating terrain setting them up for a good overall result. Van Avermaet hit a good run of form since July, adding victory in Paris-Tours and the Tour de Wallonie to his stage success in the Tour of Austria, and is determined to shine in his first ride in the event.

“Australia is becoming a big cycling country. I'm looking forward to starting my season there. Hopefully, I can start the new season like I finished 2011,” he said.

The duo will be joined by team-mates Adam Blythe, Marcus Burghardt, Martin Kohler, Manuel Quinziato and Tim Roe, and together the septet will aim to leave a big impression on the race.

According to Rik Verbrugghe, who will direct the riders in Australia, this year’s race could play out differently to before, potentially tipping the balance towards a more rounded rider than in the past. “It's always been more of a sprinter's race. But this year could be different because stage five finishes at the top of Old Willunga Hill,” he said, knowing that the finish could give Ballan or Van Avermaet a platform to battle for the overall.

Santos Tour Down Under Race Director Mike Turtur is pleased to see Ballan in the lineup, and also the Australian rider Tim Roe. “The race is always honoured to have a past world champion ride amongst the peloton. Ballan is one of the true gentlemen within our sport, always conducting himself as the consummate professional at all times.

“It is great to welcome Tim back to the race for the second consecutive year with the BMC Racing Team giving him the opportunity to perform well in front of a home crowd.”

The WorldTour race will begin on January 17th and run for six days. Two other teams have already been announced, with former race winner Luis Leon Sanchez leading the Rabobank squad and Edvald Boasson Hagen being the likely captain of the Sky Procycling team.


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