World champion joins Ballan and Hincapie at California-based team

BMC Racing team has confirmed that it has signed world road race champion Cadel Evans on a three-year contract. The Australian will join his predecessor in the rainbow jersey, Alessandro Ballan, and current US national champion George Hincapie at the California-based outfit, which is looking to establish itself as a force in the professional racing scene.

Evans had confirmed late last week that he planned to exercise a clause in his contract to allow him to leave Silence-Lotto, which the former mountain biker had joined in 2005 when it was called Davitamon-Lotto.

The Australian finished second in the Tour de France in 2007 and 2008, but endured a series of disappointments in the race this year including a disastrous team time trial in the opening week which left him struggling to make an impact on the general classification.

He briefly wore the leader’s golden jersey in September’s Vuelta but a painfully slow wheel change by neutral service mechanics cost him time to eventual winner Alejandro Valverde that he proved unable to make up.

The World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland at the end of the month, on roads familiar to Evans – he lives nearby with his Italian wife, Chiara – saw him launch an uncharacteristic attack in the closing stages to which his rivals had no response.

BMC Racing co-owner Jim Ochowicz said: “Cadel brings a wealth of experience in the Grand Tours to the team,” adding that “our team will have multiple chances to measure ourselves against the greatest teams in the world. We are pleased that we will have the opportunities to send out our most successful riders, now including Cadel Evans, to tackle these challenges."

For his part, Evans said: “A great opportunity has come for me to join a growing team of like minded individuals at BMC. I look forward to working with the BMC group toward the same goals including the Tour de France. I see the BMC Racing Team as a growing but very well structured and organized Team.”

Evans will also be helping the company develop its road bike product range, a process that will presumably include a visit to the paintshop to have BMC’s black livery redone in white with rainbow stripes, a colour scheme that adorned the Australian’s frame in his final weeks at Silence-Lotto when he helped team-mate Philippe Gilbert to a series of victories including Paris-Tours.

Meanwhile, BMC’s signing of Evans could have implications for Britain’s own Team Sky, since both are relying on securing one of a limited number of wild card entries for the opportunity to participate in next year’s Tour de France. With Evans sporting the rainbow jersey and having stood on the podium twice in Paris in the last three editions of the race, it’s difficult to see BMC not lining up in Rotterdam for the Grand Départ next July.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.