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by Shane Stokes
December 18, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos
The riders and staff of the BMC Racing Team, plus the sport of cycling itself, have received a boost with the news that the title sponsor BMC Switzerland has committed to continuing its backing beyond 2016.
The team began as a US Continental outfit in 2006 and now, heading into what will be its 11th season, BMC Switzerland owner Andy Rihs has pledged to remain involved.
“We continue to make our bicycles, so I think it’s the best way to promote cycling, besides all of the fun and excitement and passion we have with the riders and the organization,” he said.
“We will continue to do what we have done every year. We try to win again at the Tour de France, we try to win the classics, and that makes it exciting for everybody.”
The team is understood to cost more than the bike company makes in profits each year, but cycling enthusiast Rihs remains committed. The team has said in the past that it would welcome a co-sponsor and so, presumably, that search will continue in 2016 and beyond.
The team’s president Jim Ochowicz said that he and others had been looking beyond 2016.
“We have always been thinking long term with our program throughout the years as we continue to develop our organization,” he stated from the team training camp in Denia, Spain. “We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to the future.”
The team won the Tour de France in 2011 with Cadel Evans, achieving its prime goal. It wants to try to take the race again and will have a double approach next year with Tejay Van Garderen and Richie Porte combining to take on the leaders of other teams.
Riders such as Taylor Phinney will chase success in the Classics.
Ochowicz spoke about the main targets, saying that key objectives had been identified.
“The goals for 2016 are on four fronts. The first is that we want to be in the top three on the WorldTour team rankings at the end of the season because that reflects consistent performances in all of the WorldTour races,” he stated.
“We are a team that focuses on the Classics so we would like to win a Classic. We would also like to, with one of our two GC riders (van Garderen and Porte), win the Tour de France. Our fourth goal is to defend our past two years’ Team Time Trial title at the World Championships.”
The American added that things were looking good at this point in time, describing the past two weeks as being “very productive” at the pre-season get-together.
“Up until this point today we have accomplished all of our objectives with the December camp. We’ll all be leaving here this weekend and if everything continues to go as planned, we’ll be on our way to the holidays and then into our first competition in Australia in January.”
Further details of the sponsorship, including the extension length, were not disclosed.
The team also announced that former rider Klaas Lodewyck will become a director sportif for the team’s development squad.
The 27 year old Belgian was affected by heart issues this season, first being advised to withdraw from the lineup for the Giro d’Italia and then being told he had to retire.
“After all the problems I had last year, it’s a new opportunity and a new chance so I’m really happy,” he said. “I had to stop (cycling) now, so young at only 27.
“For me, there are still some dreams that I would love to reach that are not possible anymore. So I want to help the young guys, help them develop as well as possible and help them to reach their dreams.”
Also see: Taylor Phinney Q&A: “The Olympic time trial is the most important thing on my horizon”