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Charlie Livermore/Training Consultant BMC Racing Team
Charlie Livermore/Training Consultant BMC Racing Team

Interview with Charlie Livermore

14. February 2008

Charlie’s Views
13 February, 2008

Working in the Lab
So short before the beginning of the Tour of California, you would be hard pressed to find a team not wrapped up in last minute tests and preparations.  The Wednesday before the start of the race found Charlie Livermore, cycling trainer extraordinaire and part owner of the BMC Racing Team, working with one of the teams rising stars, Darren Lill.  “This is our first year with Darren, so we didn’t have any previous tests to go by.  And this is his first test of the year,” Charlie related.  “We’re looking simply to find out where Darren is at this point in the year and looking for validation of the hard work he has put in for the Tour,” Charlie said.  “And boy did he validate.”  Charlie enthusiastically described how diligent a rider Darren is and how much interest Darren takes in his training numbers, “Darren is a good consistent guy, and his condition now is as good as it can be for this time of year,” Charlie continued, “we can expect good things from him this race.”

Goals for California
The Tour of California is the most important stage race in America today and many top teams will be there with high ambitions.  BMC is not different, but Charlie believes that if everyone finishes healthy, it will be a successful race.  “Last year a flu bug ran through the team which pretty much took us out of contention, and we don’t want that to happen again.”  If they can stay healthy, the aim is to animate the race, as they tried in Qatar, “We want to contribute to the sporting success of the race,” Charlie explained.  “And though John (Lelangue) and Gavin (Chilcott) make the tactical decisions, we all believe that we have a solid team, and could factor in the Team Classification."

Aiming high now and in the future
“In Alex Moos, we certainly have someone for the General Classification,” Charlie said.  “I have been talking with him these past few weeks and he is certainly flying high.”  Alex Moos is not only among the team’s best bet for the California GC, but he is also a team leader in many different situations. “It may be over our heads to win the race this year, but with Alex, Tony and several of the other guys on the team, we can certainly animate any race and always aim for a victory,” Charlie explained.  “We have only really been a team for two years, and we have 1/3 of the budget of some of the other Continental Professional Teams with Wild Card Label, Charlie reasoned, “We believe by 2010 we can certainly hope to grow into an American team that is dominant on the international stage.”

Sponsorship conundrum
Charlie said he and Gavin keep pinching themselves with disbelief and pride in what they have built in the BMC Racing Team.  “BMC will be our title sponsor through 2009, and their contribution is very generous, but to grow the way we want to grow, we will need help in the form of a sponsor from the corporate world,” Charlie revealed.   “BMC’s contribution has turbo-charged the team, so we really can take a finished product to a potential large-scale sponsor,” Charlie explained.  Nevertheless, recent events have done little to ease the road to finding sponsors on any level.  “What has happened today with Astana is such a shame for cycling,” Charlie said.  “I know Levi personally, for instance, and I just feel so sorry for the riders who have no control over decisions like these.”  From a business standpoint, these sorts of decisions make the sponsor search even harder.  “With the spectre of doping and the inability to guarantee entry into the best races, looking for sponsors is really an uphill battle.”  Hoping to avoid the fate of Sisyphus, Charlie could also look on the bright side, “There are always two sides to an issue, and for BMC, being such a young team, founded on clean principles with young eager guys, we like to think of ourselves as on the forefront of the new order in cycling.”