Strade Bianche Normally One For Ballan

The absence of Alessandro Ballan for Strade Bianche will certainly be felt by the BMC Racing Team, Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said. Saturday’s race is the first of two semi-classics in Italy this weekend for the BMC Racing Team.

Crash Recovery Continues
Ballan, twice a runner-up in Strade Bianche (2008, 2011) and fourth last year, continues to recover from a training ride crash in Spain in December. He broke his left leg in two places, fractured a rib and needed surgery to remove his spleen and later his appendix. But Baldato said the presence of a strong team around another past world road champion, Cadel Evans, and Greg Van Avermaet (fifth last Saturday at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad) will help make up for Ballan’s absence. “Cadel will be our leader and Greg is in very good condition too,” Baldato said. “Greg is really a fighter and this race is one for the fighters. He was right there to help Alessandro last year near the end.”

Evans Off To Good Start
Evans won Stage 7 of the 2010 Giro d’Italia on a rain-soaked course that included stretches of Strade Bianche’s white gravel roads through the rolling hills of Tuscany’s wine country. Third place at the Tour of Oman earlier this month, the 2011 Tour de France champion said the cancellation of GP di Lugano Sunday “was a bit of a pity,” because the course runs close to his home. But indoor training sessions this week due to more snow have not dampened his enthusiasm. “So far, the start to the season has been good,” Evans said. “It’s only been Oman, but I prefer to start off at the point end of the peloton so it sets the standard for the rest of the year. I look to progress from Oman from here and onwards to Tirreno-Adriatico and so on.”

Cummings Eyes Roma Maxima
Sunday’s inaugural edition of Roma Maxima, which is based on the former Giro del Lazio (last held in 2008), is one BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Max Sciandri knows well. He won Giro del Lazio 13 years ago in his final race as a professional. “It’s a beautiful race with amazing scenery,” Sciandri said. “It finishes 500 meters from the (Roman) Colosseum. We bring a team that provides us with a lot of options.” One of those is Steve Cummings, who was part of the BMC Racing Team squads that won the team classification at both Qatar and Oman. “I’m a big fan of racing in Italy,” Cummings said. “I didn’t get to race much here last year so I’m really looking forward to it. There is a great atmosphere amongst our group right now, which helps you a lot during the races. When you look ahead to what’s coming it’s a very exciting time for the team. I’m happy to help as much as I can, and take my opportunities if and when they come.”

BMC Racing Team Strade Bianche Roster (March 2):
Adam Blythe (GBR), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Cadel Evans (AUS), Martin Kohler (SUI), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).

Sport Director:
Fabio Baldato (ITA)

Dario Spinelli (ITA)

Chief Communications Officer:
Georges Lüchinger (LIE)

Bus Driver: Steven Christiaens (BEL). Mechanics: Antonio Biron (ITA), Aaron Fairley (USA), Alessandro Gaia (ITA), Kevin Grove (USA), Ronald Ruymen (BEL). Soigneurs: Anthony Lafourte (BEL), Gunther Landrie (BEL), Marc Paeme (BEL), Stefano Rubino (ITA), Freddy Viaene (BEL).

BMC Racing Team Roma Maxima Roster (March 3):
Adam Blythe (GBR), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Larry Warbasse (USA).

Sport Director:
Max Sciandri (ITA)

Mechanics: Aaron Fairley (USA), Alessandro Gaia (ITA). Soigneurs: Gunther Landrie (BEL), Stefano Rubino (ITA).

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