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BMC Racing Team’s superstar lineup just got one better as the team announced Sunday that 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez will join the squad.
Coupled with the news that Chris Horner signed a deal with Lampre-Merida last week, the arrival of Sánchez to BMC means that two of the peloton’s biggest names have secured contracts for 2014.
The 35-year-old Spaniard was the top name from the disbanded Euskaltel-Euskadi team who remained without a contract. Last week, Sánchez told Basque radio if he did not secure a contact within two weeks, he would hang up his cleats for good.
“I feel like a rider who has just earned his first contract,” Sánchez said in a team release Sunday. “I want to thank the entire BMC Racing Team, especially Andy Rihs and Jim Ochowicz, for welcoming me into one of the most prominent teams of the WorldTour.
“It is my hope that I can share my experience with the younger riders on the team. And after riding so many years to beat Cadel Evans, it will be good to help him since he is a rider I know very well.”
BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz said Sánchez will slot into a support role for the Ardennes classics and grand tours.
“Sammy will add a high degree of skill and experience to the BMC Racing Team,” Ochowicz said in a team release. “He can cover all the bases, but in particular, we look forward to having him support his new teammates in the Ardennes classics and at the grand tours.”
The move to BMC comes as something of a surprise because Sánchez was linked to teams with more Spanish roots, such as Movistar, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, and Tinkoff-Saxo.
BMC does not disclose terms of riders’ contracts, but it’s likely it could be a one-year deal, as Sánchez has also been linked to the new project led by Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso, set to debut in 2015.