BMC going with experience and reliability for 100th Tour de France
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

BMC going with experience and reliability for 100th Tour de France

by Kyle Moore at 8:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Hushovd and Frank notable absentees; Evans more confident in Giro-Tour double

Cadel EvansBMC Racing will hit the Tour de France presentation podium with a squad of familiar faces, and will be captained by the face with bushy eyebrows and a dimpled chin. The American registered team has no Tour de France rookies in its midst, and will start six riders who helped leader Cadel Evans to his Tour title in 2011.

The two most noteworthy absences are that of Thor Hushovd and Mathias Frank. Hushovd has not been at his best lately, although he just added the Norwegian road race championship to his tally, and the veteran sprinter was notified of his non-selection several days ago, even though he couldn’t reveal it. Frank led most of his home Tour de Suisse last week before losing it on the final day, and also performed well in May’s Amgen Tour of California, but may be a year away from reliable selection for Le Grande Boucle.

Instead, BMC is going with a bunch of riders that Evans called his ‘guardian angels,’ and although their riders carry a variety of specialties, their lone goal will be to support Evans, and last year’s white jersey Tejay van Garderen, should Evans falter.

“Selection starts the day after the previous Tour in regards to evaluation, and we take into final consideration the course design and performance and health issues leading up to this point,” BMC manager Jim Ochowicz explained. “The evaluation of that information was used to select nine athletes and three alternates, who equally earn a right to take the start. But for any one of several of the selection criteria, [the alternates] just didn't get there.”

Along with Frank and Hushovd, Dominik Nerz is listed as an alternate.

Helping Evans in the mountains will be the primary objective of van Garderen, as well as Amaël Moinard and Steve Morabito. Team director John Lelangue said the confidence that comes from working together often would be an important factor. “We have a really strong team and can go to Corsica with a lot of confidence with this team of experienced guys,” Lelangue stated. “They are all in good shape and focused on a sole objective. They also have been working well together in one-week races this year, so they know how it is to work for a leader.”

And though Evans is getting on in years, BMC’s assistant director Fabio Baldato added that Evans’ wisdom in the bunch is an invaluable trait in the often hectic and dangerous first week.

“Cadel has shown he can be good in all areas – whether it’s a technical parcours or a tricky final, he will be there,” Baldato added. “We saw this at the Giro. In situations like this, he's good and is always in good position. Plus, he has a great team around him to put him in the front.”

Perhaps taking on the title of ‘positioner’ will be Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär, and world champion Philippe Gilbert. Evans indicated comfort when working with this squad of riders he knows well.

“I am happy to have my three 'guardian angels' – Quinziato, Burghardt and Schär – around me, plus Brent, Amaël and Steve from our successful 2011 team,” Evans noted. “And with Tejay coming into the mix, we are a lot stronger in the mountains than in past years. It will be crucial to be consistent everywhere: on the flat stages and time trials. The climbs will be particularly important this year. Avoiding bad luck is always key as well.

“My recovery and training has progressed well this time as we attempt the Giro-Tour double. When I look back at our 2010 attempt, I feel a lot better this time around.”

Though they both bring the potential for excitement and great results, van Garderen and Gilbert will be contributing to the role of helper, even if individual success is again a result of this. “The white jersey wasn't a goal of mine last year and it's not again this year,” van Garderen insisted. “It just came along with me being up there every day, helping Cadel, which is my focus again this year.”

“For me, I am just a helper, but it will be special to be part of the 100th Tour de France,” Gilbert added.

BMC Racing for the Tour de France:
Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Cadel Evans, Philippe Gilbert, Amaël Moinard, Steve Morabito, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär, Tejay van Garderen


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