Stetina, Garmin’s longest-tenured rider, heads for BMC Racing

American will join Taylor Phinney and Tejay van Garderen in 2014 and hopes to ride his first Tour de France

American Peter Stetina will join BMC Racing in 2014, the Santa Rosa, California-based team announced on Wednesday.

Stetina, 26, has ridden for Jonathan Vaughters at Slipstream Sports for his entire career. One of Vaughters’ original junior riders in the early 2000s, Stetina rose up through the 5280/TIAA-CREF/Slipstream/Garmin program. He played a key role in Ryder Hesjedal’s 2012 Giro d’Italia victory.

A two-time U.S. U23 time trial champion, Stetina lives in Santa Rosa and cited Allan Peiper’s move to BMC as performance director as a major factor in his decision to transfer.

“BMC is notorious for having the top equipment and the team for its top support, plus it was a chance to reunite with my good friends, Taylor Phinney and Tejay van Garderen,” he said. “I also worked a lot with Allan Peiper last year and I really respect him. He was a big draw in coming. All the stars aligned, really.”

BMC Racing president Jim Ochowicz said the team would rely on Stetina as a consistent mountain domestique. He will likely lend support to van Garderen as the American inherits the team’s grand tour leadership moving forward.

“Pete comes from a family of past and present cyclists and brings with him a nice balance of experience in the many stage races and grand tours that he has participated in over the years,” said Jim Ochowicz. “He has acted as a top support rider in the mountain stages where his teams have found success. We expect the same here at the BMC Racing Team and are eager to start our work together.”

Stetina’s uncle Wayne is a former professional and is an executive with Shimano USA, a major sponsor of the BMC Racing team. His father Dale is a former U.S. TT champion and two-time Olympian.

The younger Stetina said that, in his new colors, he hoped to earn a shot at one-week stage races.

“I would really like to take my own chance in some smaller, one-week stage races,” he said. “So I would champion my own cause in those races and be a top mountain domestique in the biggest ones, especially the Tour de France. I would really like to ride the Tour next year for the first time.”

The team did not disclose terms of the contract.