Tour de France champion Cadel Evans is a confirmed non-starter in January’s Tour Down Under.
World champion Alessandro Ballan of Italy will lead BMC’s seven-man team for the January 15-22 race.
South Australian Tim Roe will also be in the team for the Adelaide-based event.
Evans was one of the stars in last year’s Tour, but he skipped the event this year because it was too early in the season for his racing program.
He went on to become the first Australian to win the Tour de France.
Evans will have a similar schedule next year as he builds up to his three major 2012 objectives – the Tour title defence in July, the road race at the
London Olympics and the world road titles in the Netherlands.
The other BMC riders to race the Tour Down Under will be Greg Van Avermaet, Adam Blythe, Marcus Burghardt, Martin Kohler and Manuel Quinziato.
Meanwhile, media reports suggest Australian Heinrich Haussler will lead the Garmin-Cervelo team at the Adelaide event.
Garmin rode superbly as a team at this year as Australian Cameron Meyer scored an unexpected overall win.
But soon after the last stage, team boss Jonathan Vaughters dramatically sacked Australian director Matt White.
Meyer and several other Australian riders have left Garmin for the new GreenEDGE team.
Rising Australian star Nathan Haas, who won last month’s Herald Sun Tour, has signed with Garmin and he will also be in their line-up for his first start in a WorldTour race.
by Buford Balony