The 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) will race in the Tour Down Under for the first time since becoming the first – and so far only – Australian to win a Grand Tour.
Evans, who in 2009 became the first Australian world road race champion , will compete in the opening race of next year’s WorldTour calendar, which rolls out in Adelaide on January 19, in preparation for next year’s Giro d’Italia.
The 36-year-old last competed in his home race while wearing the rainbow jersey in 2010.
It will be the ninth time Evans has contested the Tour Down Under, and he is bidding for his first overall victory having finished as best young rider in 1999 and twice claimed the King of the Mountain jersey.
Evans said: “With my focus on the Giro d’Italia, everything comes earlier in the year.
“There is also the team’s desire to get the season off to a good start. I think with a bit harder course this year, it would be realistic to go for the overall.
“I haven’t been able to race there since 2010 because I’ve always been working toward the Tour de France. But with me going for the Giro, it gives me the opportunity to race in Australia.
“It will be something special, especially racing in front of a home crowd.”
Race director Mike Turtur said he was pleased to be welcoming Evans back to Adelaide.
“He’s one of our greatest riders of all time,” he said. “Our only Tour de France winner and road world champion.
“I’ve always admired his respect and commitment to the sport and his total commitment to suffer during races.”
Evans’ support team will be announced by BMC Racing in the coming months. The race will be held in and around Adelaide from Sunday January 19 to Sunday January 26.