Tour Down Under 2013: first six teams confirm line-ups
Squads confirmed by AG2R-La Mondiale, Blanco Pro Cycling (formerly Rabobank), BMC Racing, Lampre-Merida, Team Sky, and Vacansoleil-DCM
by Timothy John
Six teams have confirmed their line ups for the first event of the 2013 UCI WorldTour calendar: the Tour Down Under.
AG2R-La Mondiale, Blanco Pro Cycling (formerly Rabobank), BMC Racing, Lampre-Merida, Team Sky, and Vacansoleil-DCM have all named seven-man squads for the race, which starts in Adelaide on Sunday January 20, 2013 with the People’s Choice Classic.
World champion, Philippe Gilbert, will lead the BMC Racing squad, while Britain’s Team Sky will send two riders capable of overall victory: Edvald Boasson Hagen and Geraint Thomas.
AG2R-La Mondiale is likely to coalesce behind the sprinting ambitions of Yauheni Hutarovich, while new signing, Davide Apolloinio, who spent the last two seasons with Team Sky, will be keen to impress his new French team.
Vacansoleil-DCM is likely to pursue a two-pronged attack, riding for Kenny Van Hummel on the flat stages while Thomas De Gendt, winner of the Queen stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia, rides with an eye on the general classification.
The Blanco Pro Cycling team, which will be funded for a final season in 2013 by the Dutch finance house, Rabobank, will field four home riders for the Tour Down Under, including Mark Renshaw, former lead out man to Mark Cavendish, and Jack Bobridge, part of the Australian team pursuit squad defeated by Great Britain in the final of the men’s team pursuit at the Olympic Games.
Australian, Matt Goss, will lead the efforts of Lampre-Merida in his home race. The 29-year-old, national road race champion of Australia in 2008 and runner up last year, is likely to target overall victory, while the team’s new Italian signing, Roberto Ferrari, who brought down Mark Cavendish on the third stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, will target the sprints.
More teams will be announced in the weeks ahead. Check back soon for our full preview.