Leaving chief directeur sportif position, Lelangue and BMC Racing Team part ways
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Leaving chief directeur sportif position, Lelangue and BMC Racing Team part ways

by VeloNation Press at 6:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Belgian’s departure follows disappointing Tour for American team

John LelangueFollowing a disappointing Tour de France for the BMC Racing Team and suggestions of tension within the management structure, the American WorldTour squad has announced that its head directeur sportif, John Lelangue, will leave with immediate effect.

Stating that the decision has been taken ‘for personal reasons,’ it brings to an end Lelangue’s long association with the team and its owner Andy Rihs.

“We respect John Lelangue's decision,” said the team’s President and General Manager Jim Ochowicz in the team announcement. “He will be pursuing other opportunities and challenges. We thank him for his contributions to the development of our team, and wish him the best in the future.”

Lelangue began working with Rihs back in 2005, leaving his role with Tour organisers ASO and taking up a directing position with the Phonak squad. He oversaw Floyd Landis’ victory in the following year’s Tour, but also experienced the fallout when the rider tested positive and was disqualified from the race.

Lelangue was critical of Landis, but when the American finally confessed to doping in 2010, he said that both Lelange and Rihs were fully aware and supportive of the decision to use banned products.

After the Phonak squad stopped, Rihs set up the BMC Racing Team and brought Lelangue on board. It then expanded over several years and reached a pinnacle in 2011 when Evans won the Tour de France.

However the team has also underperformed in terms of return on the high salaries paid out, with riders such as Thor Hushovd and Philippe Gilbert being less successful there than with their previous squads.

That issue was exacerbated in the Tour when both Cadel Evans, the designated team captain, and Tejay van Garderen performed far under the level anticipated. Evans was tired from the Giro and was only 39th overall, while van Garderen never fired on all cylinders and was 45th.

The team’s best placed rider overall was Steve Morabito in 35th, over one hour and twenty minutes back, while its best stage result was van Garderen’s runner-up slot on Alpe d’Huez.

That was the only top three finish for the team in the entire Tour.

The BMC Racing Team finished 18th out of 22 in the prize list, earning just €17,710 during the race. In contrast, the Sky team of race winner Chris Froome was first with €525,690 in prizes. Both squads have amongst the highest budgets in the sport.

It is unclear if replacing Lelangue is what is needed to turn things around, but it seemed clear that some changes within the structure were warranted.


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