Swiss bicycling manufacturer BMC’s professional racing team has been invited to compete in the 2010 Tour de France.
BMC Racing, which signed world champion Cadel Evans of Australia late last year, will be one of 22 teams to roll off the starting line at cycling’s most prestigious race. The competition runs from July 3-25.
The invitation marks a full-circle return for BMC owner Andy Rihs, who has worked to rebuild a team after American rider Floyd Landis tested positive for doping in 2006. At that time, Landis was riding for Phonak, a team for which BMC was also a major sponsor.
This year six teams were invited to join the race, including Switzerland-based Cervélo, RadioShack with seven-times champion Lance Armstrong and Sky with Briton Bradley Wiggins. The remaining 16 teams had all been awarded automatic spots following a deal good through 2010 that guaranteed their participation.
With the signing of a star like Evans, BMC greatly increased its changes of being invited to compete. Evans, 33, was crowned the road race world champion in 2009. He has also won the Tour de Romandie (2006), the Tour of Austria (2001 and 2004) and took two podium finishes in stage races at last year’s Tour de France.
The team also includes powerhouses like American George Hincapie, Italian Alessandro Ballan and German Marcus Burghardt.
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