Team BMC Signs Ballan, Hincapie, Kroon
Team BMC has announced the signing of the current World Professional Road Champion, current US Professional Road Champion and proven, successful new riders for the 2010 season. The team is looking forward to an aggressive 2010 schedule focused on a higher level of professional racing.
The BMC Racing Team has acquired the current World Professional Road Champion from Italy, Alessandro Ballan, as well as three-time US National Professional Road Champion George Hincapie. "When we started with the idea of the BMC Racing Team, we had a plan which would one day elevate us to the highest level of professional racing. That day is today," explained the two partners and co-owners of the BMC Racing Team, Jim Ochowicz and Andy Rihs.
"Big George" Hincapie very recently won the US National Professional Road Champion title for the third time in his career and will race for BMC in the 2010 season in the stars and stripes jersey. World Professional Road Champion Alessandro Ballan, also the 2007 winner of the Tour of Flanders, brings a wealth of experience as a five-year professional. Other notable riders with great promise and potential joining the team include: Tour de France stage winner (2008) and 2007 Gent-Wevelgem winner Marcus Burghardt from Germany; Dutchman Karsten Kroon, second in the 2009 Amstel Gold Race and a Tour de France stage winner (2002); and Steve Morabito, Michael Schär and Simon Zahner from Switzerland. All riders have signed a two-year commitment with the BMC Racing Team with the exception of Simon Zahner who holds a one-year contract.
Aggressive riding will be the name of the game
The signing of big-name riders will place the BMC Racing Team in a new level of professional racing with goals that can be accomplished with the strategic composition of team members. The reputation, success and experience of the new riders make it possible for General Manager Gavin Chilcott and Directeur Sportif John Lelangue not only to help the young American and Swiss riders but also allow the BMC Racing Team to become a serious competitor in the 2010 season.
George Hincapie is very excited to be part of this operation and part of the Rihs and Ochowicz vision. "Definitely the idea of working with the young team and helping to build the program appealed to me," George Hincapie explained. "I know a lot of the American racers on the team already and have seen how talented the young Swiss riders are, so I am very excited to help mentor the riders while also focusing on my major goals at the same time."
It was Ochowicz and Rihs' vision for the team which attracted top stars like Hincapie in the first place. From a marketing point of view, the new elite team members will bring broader brand awareness and exposure for the Swiss bicycle manufacturer, BMC. "The prominent new members of the team will contribute to an increased awareness of the brand BMC and bring a broader interest from the public especially in the riders’ home countries which are very important growth markets for us," explained BMC CEO Mike Hürlimann.
Top riders for every discipline
In building this team, BMC has left nothing to chance or coincidence, according to team representatives. In professional cycling, teamwork will always play the deciding factor in any race. Success or failure often depends on having the ideal mixture of talented riders. With the group BMC has built for the 2010 season, they can count on being in the running for a top result in every race they enter. "I am very happy to be coming to BMC because it has always seemed like a very good team," Alessandro Ballan said. "I will have new motivation working with them to accomplish my goals for the races like Milan San Remo, Paris-Roubaix and the Belgian Classics."
BMC will focus on competing in the UCI calendar of American and European races. "Our team will have multiple chances to measure ourselves against the greatest teams in the world. We are pleased that we will have the opportunities to send out our most successful riders to tackle these challenges," Jim Ochowicz added. The BMC Racing Team will enormously spice up and enrich the top-flight racing scene. "BMC's goals for the next season are ambitious and realistic," Hincapie concluded. "They have talented riders, are signing even more top guys, and most importantly have the passion and love of the sport which makes the sky the limit for the team."