The 2012 BMC Racing Team roster was released Thursday with 26 riders, including the top ranked rider in the world, Philippe Gilbert, and defending Tour de France campion, Cadel Evans. According to president and general manager, Jim Ochowicz, the selections were based on the team’s primary objectives for 2012.
“We go into 2012 with an arsenal of riders who are competitive in any endeavor in professional cycling,” said Ochowicz. “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.”
Sport director John Lelangue stressed that the team would have two primary objectives in 2012. “First, we want to make sure that in July we have the strongest team there to defend the title,” Lelangue said, referring to Evans’ Tour de France title. “We have acquired riders who will be very strong teammates for Cadel who are classic-type riders.”
“As a team, we are looking forward and it’s clear what our ambition is — to repeat our result at the Tour de France,” Evans commented.
The secondary goal, according to Lelangue, is competing at a high level in the classics. “Our objective in the classics is to again take a proactive role,” he said. “We want to go into each race with the objective that we can do something, and this year we have leaders able to animate the race. In the classics last year, we were present from the first moment to the last.”
Gilbert expects his greatest pressure in 2012 to come from himself, but with the support of a strong team he has high expectations of himself in 2012. “I know that sometimes you can do your best and still come in second, third, fourth or fifth,” said Gilbert. “But I’m ready for this. If I don’t win, we as a team will still have done our best to win.”
In 2011, Gilbert won over 15 races, including Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne, Amstel Gold and Clasica San Sebastian, as well as the Belgian national road and time trial titles. “Philippe’s 2011 season was spectacular and he’s just as motivated looking at 2012,” said Ochowicz.
Other impressive talent on the team includes past world road champions Thor Hushovd and Ballan, three-time U.S. national road champion George Hincapie, reigning Swiss national time trial champion Martin Kohler, and past national time trial champions Taylor Phinney and Marco Pinotti.
Hushovd has aspirations to win Paris-Rubaix. “It’s always been my dream to win Paris-Roubaix,” said Hushovd. “Now it’s even bigger goal since I’m on such a strong team with a good supporting cast.”
“Our goals and objectives are realistic,” said Ochowicz. “We are not going to claim we will win this race or that race. But we should be competitive in every race we enter. That’s what we want to do. If we win, then that’s great, too.”
2012 BMC Racing Team Roster:
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).