Ballan and Gilbert targeting stages in Vuelta a España
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ballan and Gilbert targeting stages in Vuelta a España

by VeloNation Press at 7:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
BMC Racing Team names Bookwalter and Morabito as GC riders

Alessandro BallanHaving missed out on a stage win in the Tour de France, the BMC Racing team is heading towards the Vuelta a España hoping for success in this area. Former world number one Philippe Gilbert and 2009 world champion Alessandro Ballan took stages there in the past and likely have the best chances in this area.

Indeed Ballan took a stage victory on Sunday on the final leg of the Eneco Tour, highlighting his good form.

The team has designated the American Brent Bookwalter and the Swiss rider Steve Morabito as the riders for the general classification, although it emphasises that its ambitions are tempered in this contest.

“Brent and Steve are the guys who will be protected, but in a different way than when we bring riders like Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen to a big tour,” said directeur sportif John Lelangue. “In that instance, you know you are going for the podium or the top five, which is clearly not the stress or pressure here. The other guys will have individual opportunities to go for stage wins as well.”

The four aforenamed riders will be joined by Britain’s Steve Cummings, Amaël Moinard of France, the Italian Mauro Santambrogio plus Belgian duo Yannick Eijssen and Klaas Lodewyck.

Morabito was second overall in last month’s Tour of Austria and has trained hard in the Swiss Alps to be ready for the Vuelta. “I had ten days of very good training up there,” he said, “but this Vuelta seems to be very hard with so many mountain-top finishes and so many top riders. I had a lot of fun riding for the GC with the support of the team at Austria so I would like to try that at a WorldTour race.”

Gilbert, arguably last year’s most successful rider, is still waiting for his first win of the season. He’ll hope the Vuelta brings him similar results to in 2010, when he won two stags and led the race for several days.

BMC Racing Team for Vuelta a España, Aug. 18-Sept. 9:

Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Steve Cummings (GBR), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Steve Morabito (SUI), Mauro Santambrogio (ITA).

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