BMC Racing is facing closure at the end of this season over a lack of sponsorship.
QUIMPER, France (VN) — Polish team CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice reportedly could merge with BMC Racing and help general manager Jim Ochowicz save the American-registered squad for the 2019 season.
French sports daily L’Equipe reported Wednesday that the long-running team in orange, CCC, is working on a deal with Ochowicz. The solution would allow Ochowicz to have enough money to continue beyond the end of the season and for CCC to step into the WorldTour.
“And I’m Polish, too!” Ochowicz said. “I’ve never been to Poland in my whole life. My grandfather took a ship to Philadelphia somehow and ended up in Milwaukee.
“But these are rumors, and our policy is that we do not comment on rumors.”
The news comes as riders are said to be joining other teams without a guarantee of BMC Racing’s future.
The Swiss bike cycle company announced in 2017 that it would end its deal with BMC Racing by the end of 2018. Ochowicz has been working to find a replacement or several sponsors to come in, but he has yet to come up with the needed funds.
The team operates on around $29 million a year. It has been and still is one of cycling’s top teams in the 18-team WorldTour.
Riders are weary of waiting for a deal, though. Richie Porte signed with Trek-Segafredo for 2019, said a source close to the deal. Rohan Dennis is due to switch to Bahrain-Merida and Tejay van Garderen to EF Education First-Drapac.
With CCC, whose roster is mostly comprised of Polish riders, Ochowicz could merge and combine forces and riders. With some of his riders already due to leave, he will need men as well as money for 2019.
The team has been around since 2000 and with an influx of money, they rode the Giro d’Italia in 2003 and 2015.
“They have been in the sport for eight years or so, they know cycling,” Ochowicz added.
“We don’t comment on rumors, that’s our policy. We’ve had rumors about sponsors for months on end, every week something new. Sponsorship is also a focus, but it’s a daily actively we go through all the time.”
BMC’s focus is also on winning the Tour de France this month with Australian Richie Porte. The team is on the right path with its team time trial win Monday that put Greg Van Avermaet in the leader’s yellow jersey and Tejay van Garderen in second overall.
“What we are doing here is concentrating on the Tour de France and that’s why we’re in the yellow jersey right now. That’s our mission and that’s our goal. We are focused doing that,” he explained.
“Having the yellow jersey helps pay our bills right now, it pays right now for the sponsors that we have for the year. We are getting tremendous publicity globally that has value and with that value comes exposure, and that exposure is probably helping us in some way and finding something to help us out in the future.”
Even with wins, sponsors can be hard to find. HTC-Highroad left cycling at the end of 2011 when manager Bob Stapleton could not bring in a new backer. It ruled that season, winning more than any other team with stars like Mark Cavendish.
“Yeah, but we got Motorola as a sponsor because we were in the yellow jersey for 10 days with Steve Bauer in 1990. I got that sponsor at the end of August,” Ochowicz said.
“I’m not saying we are in the same day and age, but that’s how that thing worked.”