A week before the 97th Tour de France begins, the participation of Santa Rosa athletes and teams was finalized Friday with announcement of the BMC squad that will debut in cycling's biggest race.
Cadel Evans of Australia, the reigning world road titleist and a two-time Tour de France runner-up, will lead the nine-rider BMC team. It will also feature American George Hincapie, the 13-time Tour de France finisher, and former world road titleist Alessandro Ballan of Italy.
Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa, as expected, was named earlier this week to the RadioShack squad, also debuting this year, featuring seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
The Tour de France begins July 3 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, with a short individual time trial or prologue.
The first and second stages will finish in Belgium, with the three-week race then progressing throughout France on a clockwise route to its July 25 finish in Paris.
Despite its Santa Rosa registration (general manager Gavin Chilcott lives in Santa Rosa), the BMC squad selected for the Tour de France will include only two Americans, neither from the Santa Rosa area.
Hincapie, a three-time national road titleist and former Tour de France team and individual stage winner, lives in Greenville, S.C. Brent Bookwalter, who will compete in the Tour de France for the first time, lives in Athens, Ga.
"The best result for the BMC Racing Team is looking to the highest step on the podium," said team director John Lelangue. "With Cadel, we come to the Tour clearly with one objective — one leader. All of the team will be focusing on supporting him."
Like most Tour de France teams, BMC's roster is internationally diverse.
Mathias Frank and Steve Morabito, both of Switzerland, Mauro Santambrogio of Italy, Karsten Kroom of the Netherlands and Marcus Burghart of Germany complete the roster.