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By beefing up its roster, BMC solidifies ambitious growth plan

15. September 2008

Entering its second year as a Pro Continental squad, the BMC Racing Team is expanding both the Swiss and the American side of its roster with the hopes of raising the overall sporting level of the team.  This growth has been made possible by the enthusiastic support of Swiss entrepreneur Andy Rihs, the owner of the BMC bicycle manufacturer.   Consequently, the Swiss-American emphasis is beneficial to all sides.

New faces: four Swiss, one American

Sticking with the Swiss-American theme, BMC has added four new Swiss riders, and one American. On the Swiss side Markus Zberg, the current Swiss National Champion, Mathias Frank, Thomas Frei and Florian Stalder have signed with BMC for the coming season.    Chad Beyer currently racing the Tour de l'Avenir with the US National Development Team will also be joining the squad in 2009.  “All our new additions are young, talented and good fits with our program,” Chilcott said.  “We are pleased to have the Swiss National Champion on our team, and I am particularly excited to see how Mathias Frank fills out a leadership role on the squad.”

Returning players

In 2009 BMC will be able to count on the services of perennial stage race threat, Alex Moos, as well as young climber Steve Bovay and their two sprinters, Danilo Wyss and Martin Kohler.  For the Americans, 8 will be returning for the 2009 season.  Tour of Utah victor Jeff Louder will come back, as will the Tour of California KOM heros, Scott Nydam and Jackson Stewart.  Brent Bookwalter will be returning in the hopes of building on his already flying form, and so will Jonathan Garcia who despite a spat of crashes has been a huge contributor to the team in ’08.  Ian McKissick, Taylor Tolleson and Tony Cruz have all brought in victories this year, and are important cornerstones for the team as a whole.  “This is overall a very exciting group,” Chilcott said.  “With 17 riders of this calibre we will be running a second program more often which adds excitement as well as complexity to the back-end of the team.”

Behind the wheel, at the helm

Directeur Sportif John Lelangue has also re-signed for two more years with the team.  “I am very happy to be a part of this adventure,” Lelangue explained.  “And though I had other offers from ProTour teams, the fact that Gavin, Andy Rihs and Jim Ochowicz all share my vision for the team made it a very easy decision for me to continue working with BMC.”  Lelangue is quick to point out that, though his main objective will be to build a team capable of being competitive in the grand tours, the process of getting there is as important, if not more important than the end result.  

BMC extends till 2010

BMC, the technological leader in bicycle manufacturing, and the BMC Racing Team have agreed to extend their relationship until 2010.  “We have an identical philosophy and a common dream,” said Andreas Georgiadis, CEO of the BMC group which owns BMC.  “In the next two years we want to reach the competitive level required by the Tour de France.”   BMC the company sees BMC the team as a perfect means to extend its reach in important markets such as America, Europe and Asia.  And the feedback the professional riders provide will be essential.  “Thanks to the close relationship the riders will be able to have with our development department, their expert hands on knowledge will flow easily into the development of our bicycles,” Georgiadis explained.     

Sketching out the 2009 schedule

Aside from a few important changes, BMC will have a similar focus to the 2009 racing calendar: California, Georgia, and Missouri will be the big American objectives, while Romandie and Switzerland will form the backbone to the European calendar.  With an eye to their 2010 Grand Tour ambitions, BMC would also like to add a few more major European stage races to their ’09 line-up.  “Depending on who invites us and where the dates fall, we should be racing at a sporting level that will qualify us to be at a race like the Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico,” Chilcott said.  BMC will also be keen to return to major races such as the Tour of Qatar, Critérium International, Tour de Picardie, and Tour de Wallonie.  Other significant European objectives for the team could include the Tour of Belgium and the Tour of Luxembourg.  Though America and Switzerland will still command BMC’s primary attention, look to see the BMC racing team take part in more events around France, Germany and Italy in 2009.