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Negotiating the pavé climbs (Photo by Stijn Vercaemer).
Negotiating the pavé climbs (Photo by Stijn Vercaemer).

Building on improvements in BMC Belgian racing

8. March 2009

Ichtegem

With the 3 Days of West Flanders race in the bag, the BMC Racing Team can step back to take stock of their improvements from participating in this same race a year ago. 

Though the team didn't figure as strongly in the sprint finish for stage 3, they can feel confident that the younger members of the squad are getting the hang of these hard-man Belgian cobbles.  The stage Sunday finished with a mass sprint where Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) beat Danilo Napolitano (Katusha) to the line.

Young guns finding their strengths

In contrast to the team performance in 2008 which saw only veteran Alex Moos finishing the three day stage race, this year three of the young, emerging one-day specialists on the team managed to keep pace until the final crossing of the finish line.  Danilo Wyss, Brent Bookwalter and Ian McKissick all raced the 3 Days of West Flanders with difficulty last year.  This year, marked improvements were apparent.  "We can see the progress from last year for certain," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue reported.  "The three riders we had finishing this year have displayed a real flair for this style of racing, and since all of them are still so young, I think we can have a lot of confidence for the future." 

Two Americans getting feet wet in Belgium

Ian McKissick, who has already proved himself to be one of the strongest time triallers on the team, is now finding his feet in one day semi-classics.  "The difference is there is not as much time to relax in these Belgian races," Ian said.  "We were hammering it from the word go."  McKissick and Bookwalter have proved to be well-suited to cobbled riding since they can put out a lot of power on the bike.  Now experience in races like this will help them know how to keep position in the pack.  "We did a good job as a team, but at critical moments we were not able to make certain selections," Lelangue revealed.  "However, the atmosphere is good in the team and everyone is motivated and learning from each event."