Evans targeting second Tour win, Hushovd wants Paris-Roubaix
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Evans targeting second Tour win, Hushovd wants Paris-Roubaix

by VeloNation Press at 11:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Gilbert shrugs off pressure after standout season

Cadel EvansCadel Evans may have become one of the oldest-ever winners of The Tour de France last July, but the fact that he’ll be a year older again in 2012 doesn’t cause him to reduce his ambitions. He’s clear about what he wants heading into the new season; namely, to wear yellow again in Paris.

“As a team, we are looking forward and it's clear what our ambition is – to repeat our result at the Tour de France,” he said today, speaking as the team confirmed its lineup for 2012. “We go in with an even better, stronger team. I'm looking forward to that challenge. I am preparing for another season and a big year and look forward to meeting up with my team-mates next month at training camp.”

Evans has already indicated that he won’t compete in the Santos Tour Down Under, preferring to delay his season start and build up to a prolonged peak for the Tour and Olympic Games. He won Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this year and is expected to head back there again; if he opts to repeat the key events of his season, he’ll also be back to defend his title in the Tour de Romandie plus the runner-up slot in the Critérium du Dauphine.

Hushovd has moved across from Garmin-Cervélo and will once again try to win the race he has pinpointed as his main ambition at this point in his career. “I want to do well at Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix,” he explained. “It's always been my dream to win Paris-Roubaix and now it's even bigger goal since I'm on such a strong team with a good supporting cast.”

Some had anticipated a rivalry with Philippe Gilbert in that event, particularly as both have said they want to win it during their careers, but it’s not certain if the Belgian will even ride it in 2012. He said several months ago that he was nervous about the possibility of crashing on the cobbles and being injured, and so he may opt to give it a miss next season and wait another year.

He dominated this season, winning 18 races, and said recently that he expects to be stronger again in 2012. However he also makes it clear that he doesn’t presume that stronger legs will translate into better results.

“I know it was incredible, but I had the support and confidence of a team – which I already have with the BMC Racing Team,” he explained. “I know that sometimes you can do your best and still come in second, third, fourth or fifth. But I'm ready for this. If I don't win, we as a team will still have done our best to win.”

The Classics will be his first goals of the season. Last season he was third in Milan-Sanremo, then went on to take an extremely rare Ardennes Classics treble of Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège, as well as Brabantse Pijl. Those races will be on his hit list again; before then, he’ll concentrate on building form as well as possible.

“I just try to restart after every season, whether it's a good, bad or just a lesser season,” he said, explaining his philosophy. “I always want to do my best. I don't think about winning. I always have the same motivation and goals whether I have won a race or not.”

According to directeur sportif Jean Lelangue, the team has two major goals. The first will be the Classics, while the second is to try to help Evans take his second Tour win.

“We want to make sure that in July we have the strongest team there to defend the title,” the Belgian explained. “We have acquired riders who will be very strong teammates for Cadel [and] who are Classic-type riders. Our objective in the Classics is to again take a proactive role.

“We want to go into each race with the objective that we can do something, and this year [2012] we have leaders able to animate the race. In the Classics last year, we were present from the first moment to the last.”

President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz recognises that the team has made some big acquisitions and could be on the cusp of an even better season than it had in 2011. Both Hushovd and Gilbert have come on board, and so too other strong signings such as Tejay Van Garderen, a highly promising US rider who finished third in the 2010 Critérium du Dauphiné.

“Our current roster is full of guys who are capable of either performing at a high level themselves or supporting someone else,” he said. “It also feels great to have Cadel so competitive and motivated to defend at the Tour and it's exciting to have the No. 1 rider in the world on the team. Philippe's 2011 season was spectacular and he's just as motivated looking at 2012.”

2012 BMC Racing Team Roster (26 riders):


Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Adam Blythe (GBR), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Mathias Frank (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), George Hincapie (USA), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Martin Kohler (SUI), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Steve Morabito (SUI), Taylor Phinney (USA), Marco Pinotti (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Tim Roe (AUS), Mauro Santambrogio (ITA), Ivan Santaromita (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Johann Tschopp (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay Van Garderen (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

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