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BMC Racing Team: Most Aggressive Team of the 2008 Tour of California - from left Scott Nydam, Danilo Wyss, Alex Moos, Jeff Louder and Taylor Tolleson. (Photo by Mark Adkinson)
BMC Racing Team: Most Aggressive Team of the 2008 Tour of California - from left Scott Nydam, Danilo Wyss, Alex Moos, Jeff Louder and Taylor Tolleson. (Photo by Mark Adkinson)

BMC Racing Team: Most Aggressive Team of the 2008 Tour of California!

25. February 2008

Today’s march from Santa Clarita to Pasadena closed the book on the 2008 Amgen Tour of California.  The BMC racing team brought to the race a group with a potent mix of experienced professionals and young up and comers. The team far exceeded any moderate pre-race goals.  This fact was confirmed when the race organizers lauded the team as being the Most Aggressive Team of the entire tour.  Add to that the other accomplishments, and it is not hard to understand why Gavin Chilcott and John Lelangue glowed after the finish of the race. “We are very honoured that the organization decided to recognize the team as a whole,” Gavin Chilcott said after the end of the stage.  “This is not a standard award, but has been offered to us in response to a message from the media regarding our team’s performance over the past week.”

The young team that could

In the midst of BMC’s success in California, Gavin Chilcott was quick to recognize some of the people who have helped his young team get to this point.  “Last year Jim Birrel and Kevin Livingston went out on a limb and invited us to the Tour of California,” Chilcott recalled.  “And though we didn’t always perform last year as well as we would have liked, we learned a lot and without that experience we couldn’t have made it to this level today.”  In cycling it is as important to have the races organized as it is to have the racers who want to participate.  “Jim and Kevin have made a great commitment to helping up and coming teams, and without their support American cycling would be missing great mentors,” said Chilcott who was very keen to acknowledge this behind the scenes support.

Proactive preparations bears fruit

“I am proud and happy for the team, though not surprised,” Chilcott said.  “Everyone was well prepared.  We have the right staff, the right sponsors, and the right group of riders who are all dedicated to doing their best.” Chilcott went onto say, “But that doesn’t always guarantee success.”  A bit of luck always helps.  Good luck was noticeably lacking for the team during their time at the Tour of Qatar earlier this year.  “I am very pleased that we have reaped the benefits from all the preparations we made for this race,” Chilcott explained.  “Qatar was a worthwhile experience for all the young guys, and the time we spent in training camp previewing some of the more important mountain climbs has also paid dividends.”  BMC’s success includes a respectable team placement, the King of the Mountain jersey and Alex Moos appearing in the top ten on the general classification. The team also held the Most Aggressive jersey two days in a row.  It is easy to see how BMC has been considered one of THE teams of the race.

Setting and accomplishing goals

“Despite the loss of Jackson, Tony and Darren, overall we are very pleased with all of our rider’s efforts,” Chilcott reported.  “Having had good luck, we are reaping the benefits of our very proactive approach.”  John Lelangue was equally happy, “We were on the podium every day with the most aggressive rider and/or the King of the Mountain; we were always aggressive and always on the offensive,” Lelangue continued.  “It was a good time for the team, and team spirit is very high.”

A victory for the Team

Though the cold weather and highly contagious viruses that ravaged the peloton as a whole also impacted the BMC squad, all of the individual accomplishments were made possible by the whole team.  “I said yesterday that this KOM jersey is a victory for the team and that without them, I wouldn’t have this honour,” Scott Nydam reported.  This Tour of California has certainly been the hardest climbing course yet.  That fact had not escaped Nydam, “Everyone worked so hard for this jersey.  I just wish Jackson could be here to share this.”  Jackson Stewart had held the KOM jersey as well as the Most Aggressive Rider jersey after his epic solo breakaway on Stage 1.  Unfortunately, hypothermia on the frigid stage 4 derailed his chances of taking the KOM jersey which he and Nydam kept passing back and forth.  “Jackson really did so much for this jersey and for the team,” Nydam said.  “He set the tone for the week.”  It has been an emotional week for Scott who has been dealing with the pain of hearing his father is seriously ill.  “I keep fighting to help him keep fighting,” Scott reported earlier this week.  Sharing some podium time with his trusted training partner, Levi Leipheimer has also added to Scott’s morale.  “It has been such a special week,” Nydam enthused. “Being on the podium with Levi has been such an unexpected reward for all the work we do together.  It has been extremely special.”  As Andy Rihs said, “these young guys are the best this sport has to offer, and I am proud and happy to be a part of the project!”