Cadel Evans welcomes BMC Racing’s new riders to help him push for a second Tour de France title next year. The American team signed Steve Cummings, Adam Blythe and Tejay Van Garderen, as well as established stars Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd.
“Steve Cummings and Tejay will be real helpful in the mountains,” Evans told Cycling Weekly. “Ivan Santaromita didn’t come into his best this year, Amaël Moinard was missing in the high-mountains… that’s where we need to strengthen a little bit.”
Evans talked at home in Stabio, Switzerland, as part of an interview that will appear in next month’s Cycle Sport magazine. Since he became Australia’s first Tour winner in July, his team signed Belgian Gilbert and last year’s world champion, Norway’s Hushovd. It also signed Brits Cummings and Blythe, American Van Garderen, Italian Marco Pinotti, and Belgian Klaas Lodewyck.
Gilbert won the opening stage of the Tour this year and held the leader’s jersey for one day. Hushovd won two stages in his rainbow jersey. Evans questioned why the team signed Gilbert and Hushovd, but was reassured the two will help him in the Tour.
“Now, it’s up to us to work together,” Evans said. “I’ve been on a team with Phil before and it was a pleasure to race with him. Everything I know about Thor indicates that we are going to have a really good team.”
Evans explained that he did not know Cummings very well before they roomed together at a pre-season camp two weeks ago. The former Sky rider and Van Garderen will help Evans at the Tour, but also have opportunities of their own.
“I hope I can teach Tejay the right things and allow him to get the best out of himself. He will also have plenty of opportunities for himself at races like Paris-Nice, Dauphiné, Tour of Switzerland, etc.”
Gilbert ruled most one-day races this year. Evans said he will have his space, including a free role at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Geox riders search elsewhere
Geox-TMC’s cyclists are looking for new homes as their team looks likely to fold. The title sponsor announced two weeks go it pulled its sponsorship and overnight, the Union Cycliste International (UCI) left the team out of a list of 2012 first division candidates.
Denis Menchov is reported to be close to signing with Katusha. In the past, the Russian cyclist and his home team had a rocky relationship. With new management, the door appears open for the Two-time Vuelta a España and 2009 Giro d’Italia winner.
This year’s Vuelta, winner Juan José Cobo has yet to indicate where he will ride next year.
“I’d like to keep optimistic despite the crisis,” José Fernández Matxin, the team’s sports director told Marca. “We are talking with our contacts, but unfortunately there’s nothing confirmed.”
Fabio Andres Duarte, 2008 Under 23 World Champion, signed with Claudio Corti’s new team, Colombia-Coldeportes. Colombian Mauricio Ardila Cano is expected to join too.
Petacchi continues for two more years
Alessandro Petacchi decided to continue for two more years with Lampre-ISD, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. He won Milan-San Remo in 2005 and last year, the Tour de France’s green jersey.
Next year, the 37-year-old Italian looks forward to battling Mark Cavendish in his rainbow jersey. This year, he beat Cavendish once at the Giro this year, but finished second to him three times: once at the Giro and twice at the Tour.
“Now, if I beat him again, beat the World Champion, it will be an added bonus,” said Petacchi. “I want to have that photo.”
Track world cup gets new sponsor and new identity
The track world cup kicks off in Astana, Kazakhstan this weekend as the Olympic build-up gathers pace. The four events, plus the world championships in Melbourne next April, are the final qualifying events for the Games in August.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has unveiled a new identity and sponsor for the events that run through the winter as Korean electronics giant Samsung come onboard.
The fourth and final event in the series will be the first event at the new London velodrome. Run over three days from Feb 16-19 the racing will be hotly contested by a strong British team. Tickets go on sale November 17.