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Half of the riders in the BMC Racing Team's line-up for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad competed at the Tour of Qatar, including Thor Hushovd (leading) and Taylor Phinney (second from right). (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Half of the riders in the BMC Racing Team's line-up for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad competed at the Tour of Qatar, including Thor Hushovd (leading) and Taylor Phinney (second from right). (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

BMC Racing Team Ready For Belgian Races

22. February 2012

Santa Rosa, California

The BMC Racing Team's opening weekend of racing in Belgium also marks the cobbled classics debut for Taylor Phinney, who missed the spring classics last year due to injury.

Testing Is Primary Objective

Saturday's BMC Racing Team roster for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad includes past race winners Philippe Gilbert (2006, 2008) and Thor Hushovd (2009). "It's the first big classic for the guys and the first time to check everything: the weather, the team, the materials," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said. "So our first objective will be to test everything because we'll be doing the same climbs and cobblestones of Flanders, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem." Phinney, a two-time Under 23 Paris-Roubaix winner, missed all the classics last year after suffering a mild concussion in a training ride crash. "I've always felt at home racing in Belgium," Phinney said. "The flats, the wind and the cobbles really suit my racing style. I am beyond excited and honored to be lining up with our big classics team. Qatar and Oman were a great experience, as well as great training. The legs are responding well and I am looking forward to testing them this weekend."

Roster Change For Sunday
The BMC Racing Team switch up its roster for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday, bringing in Adam Blythe, Danilo Wyss and Tour of Oman most aggressive classification winner Klaas Lodewyck to replace Gilbert, Hushovd and Marcus Burghardt. Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said much of the team's approach to the 195 km race will depend on how Omloop Het Nieuwsblad plays out. "We will have three fresh riders who are free to make the race or an attack or be part of the action right from the start," Baldato said. "The day after Het Nieuwsblad, we will have a better feel for precisely what we can do."

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Roster (Feb. 25):
Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).

Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne Roster (Feb. 26):
Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Adam Blythe (GBR), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

President/General Manager:
Jim Ochowicz (USA)

Sport Directors:
Fabio Baldato (ITA)
John Lelangue (BEL)

Staff:
Doctor: Dario Spinelli (ITA). Mechanics: Danny Debuck (BEL), Nick Mondelaers (BEL), Ian Sherburne (USA). Press Officer: Blandine Roquelet (FRA). Soigneurs: Bernd Coutteau (BEL), Dirk Leenaert (BEL), Chris De Vos (BEL), Freddy Viaene (BEL). Bus Driver: Filip Sercu (BEL).