The BMC Racing Team’s roster for the first race of the 2013 season will include reigning world road champion Philippe Gilbert and past world road champion Alessandro Ballan, as well as Swiss national road champion Martin Kohler, who twice wore the Santos Tour Down Under leader’s jersey during last year’s race.
Gilbert’s Winter Preparation Going Well
The event begins with the People’s Choice Classic circuit race on Jan. 20 and is followed by the six-stage WorldTour calendar portion, Jan. 22-27. Gilbert said he has good memories of the race he has done twice before. In 2004, he won a stage, finished fourth overall and earned best young rider honors. In 2008, he ws 11th overall and won the King of the Mountains classification. “My winter training and preparation so far has been perfect,” Gilbert said. “I saw the parcours on the Internet and it looks good for me. So I will go there with some ambition and we also bring a great team. But for the first race, it’s hard to know how you will really feel.”
Ballan Looks To The Overall
Ballan said he expects the next-to-last stage of the race, with its two ascents of Old Willunga Hill, to be pivotal to the overall. “In my opinion, it’s not too demanding. But it will be a factor,” he said. “Last year I worked for Martin Kohler, but this time I hope to have a good overall result myself, as I started preparing for this race a long time ago.” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato, who himself competed in the 2008 edition of the race, said how the team does could set the tone for the first part of the season. “It’s important to get off to a good start in the WorldTour races, so of course we’ll want to make some good results,” he said. “The riders will do a training camp together next month and then it will be important for them not to take too much of a holiday before we resume again in January.”
BMC Racing Team Santos Tour Down Under Roster:
Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Steve Morabito (SUI), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Fabio Baldato (ITA)
Chief Communications Officer:
Georges Lüchinger (LIE)
Mechanics: Aaron Fairley (USA), Ian Sherburne (USA). Soigneurs: Matt Excell (AUS), Dirk Leenaert (BEL), Freddy Viaene (BEL).