Simon Gerrans will ride for BMC Racing in 2018 in a support role as the team’s Australian accent continues to grow.
The 37-year-old leaves Orica-Scott after seven years with the Australian team, and will slot into a helper’s role behind GC captain Richie Porte and classics star Greg Van Avermaet.
“I always saw myself spending the last period of my career in more of a road captain role and passing on my experiences,” Gerrans said. “I’m looking forward to contributing to the team as both a support rider and leader when called upon.”
Gerrans won such races as Milano-Sanremo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and the Santos Tour Down Under a record four times, as well as stages in all three grand tours, but he went winless this year and did not race in a grand tour.
There were some reports that Gerrans would retire at this year’s Tour Down Under, but the chance to help Porte in the Tour de France offered a new challenge for the veteran all-rounder.
“Simon will … be a high-level support rider for Richie Porte and Greg Van Avermaet, as well as a rider who can make the most of any opportunity that comes his way,” said BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz. “We are looking forward to seeing what Simon can do when he puts on the BMC Racing Team jersey next year.”
Gerrans becomes the team’s fourth Australian rider, joining Porte, Rohan Dennis, and neo-pro Miles Scotson on the U.S.-registered team.
BMC Racing does not reveal the length of contracts of its riders. Gerrans is the third new face on the team for the 2018 season. The squad has also penned deals with Belgian classics rider Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Soudal) and emerging classics star Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale-Drapac).
Five riders have moved to new teams for 2018, including Silvan Dillier (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy), Amael Moinard (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Manuel Senni (Bardiani-CSF). Manuel Quinziato retires while Samuel Sánchez tested positive for a peptide ahead of the start of the Vuelta a España last month.