BMC aims to improve its three Rs in 2009
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

BMC aims to improve its three Rs in 2009

by VeloNation Press at 7:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Since the snow is falling and most people are turning their attention to winter activities like skiing and Christmas shopping, it is paradoxically time for professional cyclists and teams to start their serious preparations for the up coming season.

Now that BMC is assured of its place in the ProContinental division, concrete plans can be made for race options and season goals. "For BMC, 2009 will be a season of consolidation where we want to improve our roster, races and results," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue recently declared.

2009: a year of confirmation

In 2009, BMC will join 17 other teams in the ProContinental division, while there will be another 16 teams in the ProTour. "Considering the list of teams that were not - at least initially - awarded a ProContinental license, we are very much aware of the top-notch company in which we find ourselves," Lelangue said. "This is very important to us since it will open up the option of racing in a lot of European events that we consider to be essential to our growth." The next important step will be for BMC to gain Wild Card status again when that designation is announced in February. "Being Wild Card will be really useful in our objective to keep improving since it will mean we can be invited to ProTour races which are hugely important to us: the Tours of Romandie and Switzerland," Lelangue explained. Lelangue is also aware that a successful tenure in the 2nd division is a handy stepping stone to ProTour status and level. "Look at Garmin and Katusha. They both spent several years building their programs and now they have leaped to the top division," Lelangue said.

Small but important changes to the roster, race schedule

By the end of the 2008 season, BMC felt confident that it had melded a group of racers in to a tightly knit team. "At the end of the year we really felt like the guys were working extremely well with each other," Lelangue explained. "We've taken the best guys from that group, and added five more riders who bring a lot of talent and experience despite the fact that most of them are still in their early 20s." Bringing the current Swiss National Champion Markus Zberg onto the team vividly shows how serious they are. But Lelangue points out that the team is proud to build itself organically by signing primarily young riders with lots of talent and varying experience. "Look at Florian Stalder, Mathias Frank or Thomas Frei. They are all very young but have already two to three years experience a piece," Lelangue said. "We are not buying in big names with long track records, but rather we are anxious to grow with the talented young riders." Since the team plans to race much more in Europe this coming season, it will be essential for the rides to be used to handling themselves at the Euro speeds. "We will still do all the big races on the US UCI calendar like California, Philly Week, Missouri, but we will also race in places like Belgium, France, Switzerland and Germany a lot more," Lelangue confirmed.

Training camp forecast
Looking ahead to the team's training camp which will happen soon after the new year, Lelangue believes they can pick up right where they left off in 08. "We have had very little turnover from the group we had in 2008, so there will be no need for commando-like team bonding," Lelangue said. "Our Swiss riders are already in the process of holding mini training camps with each other, and all of the American riders already know and work well together, so we should be able to keep our small group close and cohesive and hit the ground running in '09."
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