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BMC will look to its strong time triallists to make an impact at the Dauphiné (foto by Richard Sangalli)
BMC will look to its strong time triallists to make an impact at the Dauphiné (foto by Richard Sangalli)

BMC excited, well prepared for Dauphiné participation

5. June 2009

Nancy

BMC has made no secret of their big plans for development and growth over the next several seasons.  In their second year as a Pro Continental team, BMC has raised the level of their expectations for every race they enter. 

With an eye to becoming competitive in Grand Tours within the next several years, the American-Swiss team aims already this year to be among the top teams in the tough one week races.  On Sunday they will start what will be perhaps their most difficult stage race to date: the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré.  Often referred to as the mini-Tour de France, the 2009 edition of the Dauphiné lives up to that billing in spades with over 50 kilometers worth of time trialling, and several stages which will take the riders deep into the Alps up some of the most difficult and revered climbs in France.

Only non-Pro Tour team invited

"The Dauphiné is always one of the toughest one week races of the year," BMC Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said.  "And looking at the parcours, I think that this year might be more difficult than previous editions; over 50km of time trialling is very unusual for a one week stage race."  With a Tour de France calibre roster and tracing over several of the routes which will figure in the July race, the Dauphiné will be a race only the fittest will survive.  "That we have been invited and will be the only non-Pro Tour team at the race proves that the organizers believe in our riders and our philosophy as much as we do," Lelangue said.  "We have selected the most efficient and complete riders that we can take on the roster since we don't just want to participate, but rather we want to impact the race."  Lelangue intends to make being the only non-Pro Tour team work to their advantage in the race.  "We will have almost a free hand since we don't have to control the race," Lelangue revealed.  "The teams with the big names like Valverde, Contador and Boonen will have to control the race which means that we can work for ourselves and always be on the offensive."

Tough parcours offers multiple opportunities

Unusually for a one week race, the 20 kilometer prologue resembles an opening time trial more than the usual short, violent 2 or 3 kilometer effort.  "The amount and length of the time trials is more typical for a three week tour, so it will be a good experience for our guys," Lelangue said.  The next two stages are designed more for the sprinters which should help open up the racers' legs before heading into the high mountains.  "Most of our riders will focus initially on the time trials which are on Sunday and then Wednesday," Lelangue said.  "And beginning Thursday with the stage to Ventoux, the rest of the race will basically take place in the Alps riding up the big historical climbs of the region."  Not only will the race be revisiting Mont Ventoux, they will also face the Izoard, Galibier, Télégraphe, and the Croix de Fer.  "Once we see who is riding strongly and who is best placed after the 42 kilometer time trial, then we will have a better idea of which of our riders will take on the role of team leader," Lelangue said. 

BMC roster packed with good climbers, time triallists 

"We have built what we consider is the most complete team possible," Lelangue explained.  "For the first couple stages which will favour the sprinters, we have Markus Zberg.  Otherwise we have been certain to bring our best climbers many of whom are top time triallists too."  Filling out the roster are several riders who have had strong results in the past several races.  "Guys like Jeff Louder, Brent Bookwalter, Ian McKissick, Mathias Frank and Thomas Frei have been riding so strongly that any one of them has real potential to come into the race and figure prominently in the mix," Lelangue said.  "We will also have Alex Moos there who is always a strong team player, and Florian Stalder who is a very complete climber, though he may lose a little time in the long time trial."  Lelangue feels he has at least six riders on the team who could emerge as the team leader for the race and finish in the top 10.  "We are going to the race confident, without pressure and without a clear leader," Lelangue said.  "We will take the race day by day, and if we can leave the Dauphiné fighting for a place in the top 10, feeling as though we did a good race and that we were always present in the big moves, then I think we will be very happy with our performance."