BMC to merge with CCC; Van Avermaet stays on board
AIX-LES-BAINS, France (VN) — BMC Racing will continue into 2019, with manager Jim Ochowicz confirming a future with Polish team CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice Monday at the Tour de France.
The announcement ends a long search for Ochowicz, who knew already last year that BMC bikes would leave the racing program after 12 years of sponsorship.
The new iteration of the team keeps 2017 Paris-Roubaix winner and current Tour de France leader Greg Van Avermaet, along with helpers Michael Schär and Nathan Van Hooydonck.
“We are going to look different, orange, and have a different name, but we have the WorldTour license and we are continuing this team that has been going on for 12 years,” Ochowicz said.
“CCC will be our new sponsor starting in 2019. The name is still to be determined. We will have new goals, objectives, and a new look.”
Ochowicz confirmed that Van Avermaet will remain with the franchise and will lead its classics squad in the spring.
“Greg Van Avermaet extended his contract with Continuum Sports, the holding company, he will be the leader in the classics and we will build a team around Greg,” Ochowicz said.
“We will also be competitive in the week-long and one-day WorldTour races, but in the meantime, we might bypass the grand tour classification races.”
CCC currently races in the Pro Continental ranks with mostly Polish riders. It has twice raced the Giro d’Italia via wild card invitations.
BMC bikes will no longer supply the team. Ochowicz said he is still working on a bike sponsorship contract.
“We signed the deal [with CCC] on Saturday, two days ago,” he added. “Our license is currently American, I’m not sure how it will stay, the nationally is still undecided.
“I’m sure BMC has plans of their own to continue in cycling. There were some crisis moments, riders were leaving, Richie [Porte] left, but we knew that we could be confident of prevailing and still have a solid roster to be competitive at the WorldTour level.”
Van Avermaet stays, but Porte — who crashed out of the Tour de France Sunday — made a deal with Trek-Segafredo for 2019. Rohan Dennis will join Bahrain-Merida. And Tejay van Garderen is confirmed with EF Education First-Drapac.
“It’s a big relief to sign, the process can go further, let’s keep the ball rolling after many years already together,” Van Avermaet said.
“It wasn’t easy, I wanted to decide earlier, after the classics, I wanted to have [a 2019 contract] secured, but I remained loyal and waited.
“Sometimes you have to do that. Sometimes you want to sign earlier and get rid of those thoughts in your head, but I’m calm and 33 years old. I was sure of myself and Ochowicz.”