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Mike Sayers, who had worked as an assistant sport director for BMC Racing since retiring from professional racing in 2008, will take over management of USA Cycling’s under-23 development program.
The former Mercury and Health Net rider retired with BMC Racing and moved into the director’s seat when the squad was a growing Pro Continental team. Sayers directed the team through events like the Tour of Poland, Tour of Beijing and the USA Pro Challenge. When he did not re-up with the team in September, he said that “after four incredible years as a director, what’s going to give me the most satisfaction is spending more time with my five-year-old son, Brody, and my wife, Nicole.”
Sayers’ former BMC teammate and USA Cycling women’s national team director Jackson Stewart joined BMC Racing as an assistant director in October. Swiss Marcelo Albasini is the current U23 national team director, joining USA Cycling in 2011, and oversaw top results including Joshua Berry’s third-place result at the 2012 Liège–Bastogne–Liège Espoirs. Albasini will leave the national team at the close of the year to join the new IAM Cycling Pro Continental team in Switzerland.
Sayers acknowledged in September that he was “not sure” of his future in cycling. However the Sacramento, California, native will still continue to direct the U.S. men’s elite road team — for which Taylor Phinney rode to fourth in the London Olympic road race and time trial and second at the world time trial championship — as he assumes responsibility of the men’s U23 program.
“Part of my experience with USA Cycling included doing the world championships and the Olympics with the elite guys,” Sayers told VeloNews on Thursday. “For me, that was an incredible experience… I asked USA Cycling, if I left BMC for personal reasons, if I would still be able to continue on doing the elite guys. And (USA Cycling vice president of athletics) Jim Miller was very in favor of that.”
Miller could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
“We have a core group of about 21 guys,” Sayers said. “And my main goal on the job really is to build relationships between myself and the riders, and the USAC U23 program and the teams.
“And that’s one thing that’s been lacking, and I’m going put an end to that. We’re gonna have a good relationship, a good working relationship, dedicated solely to developing young guys and allowing them to move to the next level. That’s my number-one goal.”
Eventually, when family life permits, Sayers would like to return to the WorldTour and to the riders with whom he became close as a director.
“That was the most difficult thing for me to leave [at] BMC was to leave the group of riders there, because I’m very close with many of them,” he said. “I would love to get back to the ProTour, but the timing has to be right”