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Ready for 2008: Gavin Chilcott, John Lelangue, Martin Kohler, Steve Bovay, Danilo Wyss and Andy Rihs.
Ready for 2008: Gavin Chilcott, John Lelangue, Martin Kohler, Steve Bovay, Danilo Wyss and Andy Rihs.

BMC Racing Team focuses on youth

22. January 2008

Stade de Suisse in Bern, Switzerland

In preparation for their first races of the season, the BMC Racing Team was introduced today in Bern, the Swiss capital.  The inaugural 2008 Pro Continental race for BMC will be the Tour of California in the middle of February; however, they will get the ball rolling with the Tour of Qatar beginning January 27th.   Representing the team at the press conference today were three Swiss riders Steve Bovay (24), Martin Kohler (23) und Danilo Wyss (23).


The USA represents the most important market

The high-tech frame manufacturer BMC supports the BMC Racing Team, and hopes the team will bring the brand world-wide recognition.  Andy Rihs, BMC’s owner has been quoted in the Financial Times as saying, “The golf in Silicon Valley is cycling,” indicating his belief in the growing importance of cycling in the United States.  For BMC, the USA represents the most important of 28 markets where its road, mountain bike and triathlon products are distributed.  Consequently, there will be a preponderance of Americans in the BMC team kit this year, with eleven Americans, four Swiss, and one South African making up the total number of racers.  With around 100 days of racing in America, Switzerland and Belgium, the young guns will have their work cut out for them.  Rihs has already commented that, “We have convinced many young racers to join the team.”  However, by throwing into the mix professionals with many years’ experience behind them like Alexander Moos, Antonio Cruz, and Mike Sayers, all over 35, BMC has guaranteed that they will have “Captains on the Road” to guide the young talents in races.  Also the addition as Directeur Sportif of the former Team Manager from Phonak, John Lelangue, can only be considered the managerial coup of the Pro Continental race season. 


"To be different"

The team motto stands “to be different,” claims Andreas Georgiadis. The CEO of the BMC Trading AG stressed, "All models are tested by racers, before they are released to the market." No fewer than 10 teams are equipped with BMC materials.  “We are operating at the technological limit, the Formula 1 equivalent in cycling,” Georgiadis says.  “That means that winning is not our number 1 priority, rather the product must always be in the foreground.”  BMC is partnering with DT Swiss for the bicycle equipment.  And if these two components represent the “hardware”, then the addition of Assos for the team kit represents the “software”.  “After ten years, we have again returned to the game of professional team sponsorship,” says Assos-CEO Roche Maier.  “The company does not use the professional racer as a slave, but rather as a valued customer,” says Maier. Explaining his term “Squadra Mondo”, Maier claims, “Not only 16 professionals are on the team, but everyone who rides a bicycle should identify with the movement.”


No designated leader

“With only 16 team members, everyone will have the opportunity to develop,” John Lelangue states, representing one of the philosophies of the young team.  Hoping to build up a healthy team spirit, it is understood that, “There will not be one designated leader, rather everyone will be given his chance to succeed as the race situations dictate,” explains the Belgian Directeur Sportif.  The team will definitely race all UCI sanctioned races in the USA, and will additionally hope to receive wild-card invitations to important European races such as the Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Romandie, and the Tour of Switzerland, with these last two being important for the Swiss identity of the team.  And in the autumn, it is hoped that two stagiaires can be picked up to help the further development of the youthful team.

Gavin Chilcott, himself active in professional cycling since 1977, will be the manager of the team.  A former road and mountain bike racer, Chilcott returned to the road in 2003 to help build a developmental program based out of California.  That program has successfully morphed into the current Pro Continental BMC Racing Team. 


Internal Doping Control Program

The ethical principles of the team remain paramount.  “We are working with the independent and internationally recognized anti-doping agency ACE (Agency for Cycling Ethics),” says Chilcott.  The independent blood and urine controls, Chilcott emphasises “will be important for keeping to the rules of the UCI, and instrumental for the future health of cycling.”


Statements:

Andy Rihs (Owner of BMC): “I love cycling, that is why I am back.  It is my passion.  The best ideas for my personal life and business come to me on a bike.  Professional cycling offers a high quality of life and gives me much pleasure.  The repercussions for Phonak as a brand at the time of sponsorship were huge. Of any hearing aid manufacturer out there, Phonak is the only name people recognise. BMC sees the US as the most important market to crack; consequently, we have christened this new team BMC Racing.”

Andreas Georgiadis (CEO BMC Trading AG): “Without Phonak, the awareness of BMC bicycles would not be anywhere close to what it is today.”

Roche Maier (CEO Assos): “In the Squadra Mondo, we ride for our customers.  Therefore, we have already won and will not need to take part in every victor’s prize.”

Gavin Chilcott (General Manager BMC Racing Team): “We are a research laboratory for our sponsors”

Steve Bovay (24, Racer, Swiss): “After 2006, I graduated from the U-23 classification.  It followed that I had to ask myself whether I could step it up to another level of racing.  Fortunately, in 2007 I had it in me.  I’d like to thank Andy Rihs.  We can count on the staff, trusting that they know their business. I am 100% motivated to work for the team and give my maximum.”

Martin Kohler (23, Racer, Swiss): “The training camp in California was impressive.  For me it is a dream to be working as a professional cyclist.  Everything was professionally organized and the BMC bikes leave nothing to be desired.  I have always had nice bicycles, but with my new BMC, I can certainly tell the difference, and I already feel very comfortable on it.  Now I want to see how it performs when I’m racing professionals.  And I’d certainly like to work myself into a top position when I’m in a lead group during a race.”

Danilo Wyss (23, Racer, Swiss): “I have been very impressed with my other team mates already.  We are speaking French, English and German on the team.  Personally, I have had a knee problem, which is thankfully getting better so I have high hopes for myself and my performances.  The big goal now is to perform at the Tour of California.”