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November 4, 2009

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Home » Sports » Cycling

Evans takes big risk with team switch

CADEL Evans abandoned Silence Lotto to join BMC Racing Team in a bid to strengthen his claim for a maiden Tour de France victory, but the wheels could fall off the twice runner-up's challenge before the race even starts.

Although the Australian world road race champion joined a group of experienced and talented riders, the American team's participation in the 2010 Tour remains uncertain.

BMC is a Continental team (second division) while elite ProTour outfits are race organiser ASO's top priorities when it draws its list of invitees for the Tour.

However, BMC hopes the signing of Evans to a three-year contract, former world champion Alessandro Ballan and former Lance Armstrong lieutenant George Hincapie will be enough to prompt ASO to invite it.

"We have a plan to go to the biggest races, including the Grand Tours. That includes the Tour de France. This will be possible since our sporting level has greatly improved in standard," BMC manager John Lelangue told reporters.

Sixteen teams are already contracted to participate in next year's tour, while 20 usually start with a further two allowed if the maximum number is reached. Four teams - Sky, Armstrong's RadioShack, Garmin and Katusha - will be at the prologue in Rotterdam next July thanks to their ProTour status.

Cervelo, former champion Carlos Sastre and green jersey winner Thor Hushovd's team is almost certain to take part, leaving one guaranteed spot up for grabs with three teams vying for it.

BMC boasts two world champions in its ranks, manager John Lelangue's patchy history with Tour organizers could play against it.

Belgian Lelangue was Phonak team manager when Floyd Landis won the Tour in 2006, only for the American to test positive for testosterone and lose his title.


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