Citing reduced WorldTour rosters, BMC slashes team size for 2018

BMC Racing reduces its roster by nearly 20 percent, citing the reduced team roster requirements for major races next season.

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BMC Racing is reducing its team roster going into 2018 by nearly 20 percent, citing the reduced team roster requirements for major races next season.

That’s just the kind of impact that riders’ groups feared when the UCI announced that major WorldTour races would be run with smaller teams. For 2018, grand tours will be raced with eight riders instead of nine, and one-day races will see seven starters instead of eight.

“[The reduction]” is aligned with our race calendar and the reduced numbers of riders per team at certain races next year,” a BMC release said Wednesday.

Proponents of the new rule say it will create safer racing conditions as well as produce a more dynamic and less controlled racing action in the peloton.

Riders, agents, and others criticized the rule by saying it would have a negative impact on the number of racers that teams would carry going into next year’s racing season.

That’s how it has played out at BMC Racing, the first major WorldTour team to confirm it will be reducing its roster from 29 to 24 riders for 2018.

BMC Racing also confirmed four new arrivals. Alberto Bettiol and Patrick Bevin join from Cannondale-Drapac, Simon Gerrans from Orica-Scott, and Jürgen Roelandts from Lotto-Soudal.

Leaving are retirees Martin Elmiger and Manuel Quinziato. Samuel Sánchez was dropped after testing positive ahead of the Vuelta a España. Silvan Dillier joins Ag2r La Mondiale, Ben Hermans to Israel Cycling Academy, Amaël Moinard to Fortuneo-Oscaro, Daniel Oss to Bora-Hansgrohe, and Manuel Senni to Bardiani-CSF.

BMC Racing general manager Jim Ochowicz said the team enjoyed its best season ever in 2017 in terms of victories, with 48 wins. The team won its first monument with Greg Van Avermaet taking Paris-Roubaix, while Silvan Dillier and Tejay van Garderen each taking their first respective grand tour stage wins, both during the Giro d’Italia.