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An excellent start into the season: BMC Racing Team: Most Aggressive Team of the 2008 Tour of California! (Foto by Tim De Waele)
An excellent start into the season: BMC Racing Team: Most Aggressive Team of the 2008 Tour of California! (Foto by Tim De Waele)

Personal successes notwithstanding, BMC riders’ highlights focus on the team

13. October 2008

Santa Rosa

As the season winds down and the members of the BMC Racing Team segue into their off-season routines, it is time for the riders to digest what has happened in 2008, and look forward to the coming season. 

BMC began the year with the motto “the team is the star”, and each member is proud to have lived up to that idea.  “It was really cool to see how everyone grew throughout the year, and how I grew along with everyone else!” Jeff Louder explained.  And as the end of the year momentum was very much in BMC’s favour, there also seems to be unanimous excitement to pick up where they left off when the ’09 season rolls around. 

From fulfilled potential to high expectations

The management explained at the January 08 training camp that the BMC Racing Team would be a new kind of team.  “From the beginning of camp they made clear to us that we would be using a different model of sponsorship based on smart, aggressive, team-oriented racing,” Scott Nydam described.  “We would build our reputation on that idea and it really spread throughout the team.”  The idea was that this team would not be a one man show, but rather would bring together a group of talented if raw racers who would work for each other and the team as a whole.  “It has been such a satisfying season to watch everyone be so effective racing at such a high level,” Nydam continued.  “We have a super committed staff and working with a guy like John Lelangue who is offering us so much of himself and really finds his motivation in working with raw material like us; I really respect him for that commitment.”  In the first races of the season, the team had a lot of untapped talent which would need to be coaxed out while racing at the highest domestic and European levels.  “For me the year highlight was just to see how the team progressed from January to September,” Louder revealed.  “I was very excited and motivated to have signed with this team and you always hope for the best, but to see it really play out was very satisfying.”  The team started slowly, getting good results while setting attainable goals.  “Early on we were still playing the smaller cards – getting into breaks, winning aggressive prizes, going for the results we knew we could get,” Louder explained.  “But by the end of the year, we were entering the races with the plan to go for everything because we knew we were capable of racing like that; it was very neat for me to be involved.” 

Bottle our confidence to unleash it again next year

Though the exact date might vary, most members of the team point to sometime between the beginning of Cascade to the end of the Tour of Utah as the part of the year when the team really began to gel together.  The weeks leading up to this mid-July to mid-August block of racing actually included the European events which figured most prominently on the BMC calendar: the Tours of Romandie and Switzerland.  Representing the first two ProTour level events the team competed in, these two landmark races saw the team pursuing its aggressive ambitions.  “For sure my 2008 highlight was my 10th place at the Romandie prologue,” Martin Kohler reported.  “I enjoy prologues and as the Tour de Suisse 2009 prologue is near my home, I hope to do very well there too!”  Romandie found several of the BMC members getting into long breaks and generally animating the race.  The Tour de Suisse also gave the team, especially the Swiss members, a chance to shine.  “This was really a season full of some great moments for me,” sprinter Danilo Wyss explained.  “For me the Romandie and Swiss tours were very important since it is always very special to participate in your national tour.”  But it is not only special for the Swiss members to ride in these races.  For the Americans on the team, it offered tangible proof that they had the confidence of management and their team mates.  “One of the highlights for me was to be a part of the Swiss roster,” Colorado climbing ace Jonathan Garcia said.  “It gave me confidence that management chose me since it meant I must be doing something right!”  As the team evolved throughout the year, the management was able to make much more informed decisions about which rider would work well in which race.  “With the strong team we already had, the signings for next year will certainly raise the bar,” Louder explained.  “I’m definitely motivated to show up and perform early since the competition for spots will be pretty stiff!” 

Tour de Wallonie – the point where everything clicked

“For me personally if I have to choose one event, I would say the Tour of Wallonie when I won the mountain classification was my highlight,” Swiss climber Steve Bovay explained. “It was a really good experience to be able to defend the jersey all that week.”  From Wallonie, The team marched into Utah with a vengeance.  “Not only did we post the results at Utah, but the team rode great, really sacrificing for each other all week,” Brent Bookwalter said.  “It felt especially good after spending the week prior to the race doing the training camp with the guys where I felt like we really grew closer together and set the stage for a great race and a great remainder of the season.”  With the outstanding Utah performance which Louder followed up by taking dead aim and barely missing the US Pro title, the team certainly finished the year on a high.  With momentum so definitely in their favour, it is almost a shame the season ended when it did.  “Normally the last month of the racing year is a drag, but we were riding so well that part of me was really sorry that we couldn’t race more,” Louder confessed.  “When you end the season on a high note, you really look forward to starting the new year and picking up where the team left off.”