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BMC invited to ride Tour of Romandie

There’s more good news for BMC after the team secured its second major European race invitation of the week. Just days after scoring a bid to race Criterium International (March 29-30), the second-year American squad earned its first ProTour invitation from the Tour de Romandie (April 29-May 4).

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By Andrew Hood

The BMC team (here at the Tour of Qatar) are heading to the Tour of Romandie.

The BMC team (here at the Tour of Qatar) are heading to the Tour of Romandie.

Photo: Andrew Hood

There’s more good news for BMC after the team secured its second major European race invitation of the week.

Just days after scoring a bid to race Criterium International (March 29-30), the second-year American squad earned its first ProTour invitation from the Tour de Romandie (April 29-May 4).

Romandie’s press attaché Patrick Lang said BMC is the lone wildcard for the Swiss stage race that will also include all 18 ProTour teams. Lang said a 20th team could be added if there’s enough money from organizers.

Strong ties between Romandie organizers and title sponsor BMC, a bike frame company owned by ex-Phonak sponsor and Swiss businessman Andy Rhis, helped grease the way.

BMC is impressing race organizers in 2008 with a deeper squad, aggressive tactics, a strong anti-doping line and the arrival of sport director John Lelangue.

The team also earned a bid in January for the Tour of Qatar, a race organized by Tour de France and Criterium International owners ASO, and earned the most aggressive team prize at the recent Tour of California.

“This is a big deal for us. It is a very prestigious race and has a parcours well-suited for our style of riding,” said Lelangue, referring to the Criterium International invitation. “We have done well in California, but even in Qatar, which is a race with an ASO presence, we were making a good impression. The guys rode well and looked good. Add to that our anti-doping efforts, and we hope to present a powerful argument promoting our right to be invited to these sorts of high-caliber races.”

The team’s goals include to slowly expand its European racing schedule. So far, things seem to be headed in the right direction.