Samuel Sánchez celebrating WorldTour contract with BMC Racing Team
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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Samuel Sánchez celebrating WorldTour contract with BMC Racing Team

by VeloNation Press at 9:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Long wait comes to an end: “Sammy will add a high degree of skill and experience to the BMC Racing Team”

Samuel SanchezDescribing himself as being like a neo-pro after finalising the agreement, the 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez has finally found a team for the current season and will compete with the BMC Racing Team.

“I feel like a rider who has just earned his first contract,” a relieved Sanchez stated, celebrating the fact that he would now not have to retire. “I want to thank the entire BMC Racing Team, especially Andy Rihs and Jim Ochowicz, for welcoming me into one of the most prominent teams of the WorldTour.”

The 35 year old Spaniard had been left on the sidelines ever since his Euskaltel Euskadi team stopped and buyout talks with Fernando Alonso failed. He was linked to the Tinkoff Saxo team in December but that move never materialised. The team’s general manager denied suggestions that it had reneged on the deal after Oleg Tinkov took over the team.

Sanchez had initial talks with teams such as Colombia, but nothing materialized. Earlier this week he said that he would retire from the sport if he didn’t get a team within a fortnight.

That now won’t have to happen, with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España podium finisher getting a new lease of life in cycling’s top ranks.

“It is my hope that I can share my experience with the younger riders on the team,” he said, talking about one of the roles that he will have. “And after riding so many years to beat Cadel Evans, it will be good to help him since he is a rider I know very well.”

At the 2011 Tour de France, he joined overall winner Cadel Evans on the final podium in Paris as champion of the king of the mountains classification.

The team’s general manager Jim Ochowicz was crucial to the decision to sign the 2011 Tour de France King of the Mountains, who stood on the final podium in Paris with Evans, the overall winner.

“Sammy will add a high degree of skill and experience to the BMC Racing Team,” Ochowicz explained. “He can cover all the bases, but in particular, we look forward to having him support his new teammates in the Ardennes classics and at the Grand Tours.”

While Sánchez had a relatively quiet season in 2013, he won a stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné and finished ninth overall in that race.

He missed the Tour de France due to fatigue after netting twelfth overall in the Giro d’Italia. Instead of competing in the July Grand Tour, he went on to race the Vuelta a España.

He took three top ten stage placings there and finished up eighth overall in Madrid.

In previous years Sanchez took stage victories in both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, and was winner of events such as the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, the GP Miguel Indurain, the Vuelta A Burgos and the Beijing Olympic road race.

It is not clear if his contract is for one year or longer, but reports last year suggested that Alonso wants Sanchez to be part of his new team when it begins in 2015.

In that light, it seems that he could well end up remaining in the sport beyond the end of this season.


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