Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has signed up for another three years with the BMC team that helped him become the first Australian winner of the endurance classic last month.
The 34-year-old joined the Swiss team last season and led them in their first Tour de France and Giro d’Italia campaigns that year, before they achieved elite “pro team” status this year.
“I feel that as a team, we have grown successfully together,” Evans said in statement on the team’s Web site. “It’s been an enjoyable and satisfying journey so far. From the start, I have always felt the BMC Racing Team has had a lot of confidence in me as a member and often as a leader of the team. So a longer term contract echoes this. I look forward to the years ahead. We will keep working and progressing toward the future.”
Evans’ teammate George Hincapie, the three-time US road race champion, has agreed to stay with the team for another season, his 19th as a professional.
“Having these two return to the BMC Racing Team next year allows for our continued growth by having our two captains stay on board to provide leadership and mentoring to others in our organization,” team boss Jim Ochowicz said. “In George’s case, we need him to help the young guys like Taylor Phinney and Greg Van Avermaet keep developing. For everyone else, he creates leadership in the classics and at the Tour de France.”
Evans is ranked No. 1 in the UCI rankings after his Tour triumph, while BMC are ranked second in the team standings, a remarkable rise for the young team.
TOUR DE POLOGNE
German rider Marcel Kittel of the Skil-Shimano team retained the yellow jersey on the Tour de Pologne after winning the second stage on Monday.
The 23-year-old triumphed in a sprint finish at the end of the 162km ride from Czestochowa to Dabrowa Gornicza in southern Poland, beating Australia’s Heinrich Haussler of Garmin-Cervelo into second.
Another Australian, Graeme Brown of Rabobank, came in third on a day marred by a crash involving several riders, including Italian 2008 world road race champion Alessandro Ballan.
Kittel’s win follows his success in Sunday’s opening stage, which was his first in a World Tour event.
TEAMS TO MERGE
Belgian cycling teams Quick Step and Omega Pharma-Lotto announced on Monday that they would be merging into a Belgian “super team” next season.
The new team, which will be launched on Jan. 1, will be known as Team Omega Pharma-Quick Step. It will be managed by Patrick Lefevere, the director of Quick Step.
The two sponsors will take turns in financing the team. Omega Pharma will sponsor the team for the first two seasons with an option of a third, with Quick Step taking over for the next three years.
“With this agreement, we are continuing to invest in a Belgian team, backed up by some international talent,” said Marc Couke, the founder and chief executive of pharmaceutical company Omega Pharma. “Our objective remains to continue as one of the top teams in the world.”
The announcement did not clarify the lineup of the new team, notably whether Quick Step leaders Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel as well as Omega Pharma ace Philippe Gilbert, who earlier this year became only the second rider to win all three of the Ardennes classics, will stay with the new team.
However, Gilbert, who added the San Sebastian classic on Sunday, was not happy at all to have learned the news from the press.