World Champion Philippe Gilbert leads BMC Racing’s Tour Down Under team
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

World Champion Philippe Gilbert leads BMC Racing’s Tour Down Under team

by Ben Atkins at 7:30 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
American team announces seven-man roster with almost two months still to go

philippe gilbertWith just under two months still to go until the race start, the BMC Racing Team has announced its roster for the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under, which will run between January 17th and 22nd. The six-day race, which will open the WorldTour will be the first race of the new season for World champion Philippe Gilbert as he begins his year in the rainbow jersey.

Gilbert made his debut in the Australian race in 2004, where he took the third stage, finished fourth overall and took the young riders’ jersey; he last rode the race in 2008 - in his last year with FDJ - where he won the overall mountains classification. His season has started a little later in recent seasons, in February, but he has decided to begin in Australia for a third time.

“My winter training and preparation so far has been perfect,” said Gilbert. “I saw the parcours on the Internet and it looks good for me. So I will go there with some ambition and we also bring a great team. But for the first race, it's hard to know how you will really feel.”

Reigning World champion Gilbert will be joined in the team’s roster by one of his three former rainbow jersey teammates, in 2008 champion Alessandro Ballan. The Italian has ridden the last two editions of the race, and expects the second-last stage - which will climb Old Willunga Hill twice - to be decisive.

“In my opinion, it's not too demanding. But it will be a factor,” he said. “Last year I worked for Martin Kohler, but this time I hope to have a good overall result myself, as I started preparing for this race a long time ago.”

Kohler, the Swiss national champion, who wore the leader’s jersey twice in the 2012 edition of the race, will also be in the team once again.

BMC Racing Team assistant director Fabio Baldato, who - like Gilbert - competed in the 2008 edition of the race in his last year as a professional rider, sees the race as important in setting the tone for the first part of the season.

“It's important to get off to a good start in the WorldTour races, so of course we'll want to make some good results,” he said. “The riders will do a training camp together next month and then it will be important for them not to take too much of a holiday before we resume again in January.”

BMC Racing Team to the Santos Tour Down Under
Alessandro Ballan, Philippe Gilbert, Martin Kohler, Klaas Lodewyck, Amaël Moinard, Steve Morabito and Danilo Wyss

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