A strong performance in the Giro d’Italia earned Brent Bookwalter a trip to the Tour de France as he was included among the nine starting riders for BMC.
Bookwalter came within two seconds of the pink jersey in the opening stage at the 2010 Giro and then did a great job to get through a very difficult three weeks in his grand tour debut to help captain Cadel Evans finish in the top 5 overall.
Bookwalter will once again play a supporting role as Evans leads BMC into its first Tour. Also joining will be American veteran George Hincapie and former Tour stage winners Marcus Burghardt and Karsten Kroon.
“With Cadel, we come to the Tour clearly with one objective — one leader. All of the team will be focusing on supporting him,” said team president Jim Ochowicz. “We’ll have our day in the sun there and we’ll have some tough days as well. But overall, it will be a great experience for the BMC Racing Team. The best result for the BMC Racing Team is looking to the highest step on the podium.”
Evans will be the first reigning world champion in a generation to be bucking for an overall GC ride in the Tour. A two-time runner-up, Evans will be among the favorites when the Tour clicks into gear July 3 in Rotterdam.
“Leading into the Tour, things seem to be coming together,” Evans said. “For me, the Giro was a bit more fatiguing than I expected, possible because of the health problems I encountered. We will see during the Tour how my alternative race program goes.”
Hincapie will be making his 15th Tour start, one shy of Joop Zoetemelk’s all-time record. The three-time U.S. national champion said the first week of the Tour may figure prominently
“There are cobblestones in the mix and small roads and wind and possible bad weather conditions, so it can be very hectic,” Hincapie said. “I think the first week this year can blow the whole race wide open.”
Missing the Giro was a disappointment for Ballan, but the 2008 world road champion said he is on form and ready to support Evans.
“I was most worried about not returning in time to be selected for the Tour de France,” Ballan said. “I had hoped to help Cadel at the Giro but was unable to participate. Now I can work 100 percent for him at the Tour.”
BMC Racing Team Tour de France
- Alessandro Ballan (ITA)
- Brent Bookwalter (USA)
- Marcus Burghardt (GER)
- Cadel Evans (AUS)
- Mathias Frank (SUI)
- George Hincapie (USA)
- Karsten Kroon (NED)
- Steve Morabito (SUI)
- Mauro Santambrogio (ITA)