Improving performance and preparing riders for the ProTour is the goal of the new BMC Development Team that will compete in Europe and the United States, Directeur Sportif and Team Manager Rik Verbrugghe announced Monday.
Verbrugghe, a 13-year professional who has been an assistant director for the BMC Racing Team the past two seasons, said he is excited to work with a mix of young and semi-experienced riders. “Our main goal is to work with the young guys and bring them to a higher level in the hopes that they will graduate to the ProTour level,” he said. “Of course we hope to achieve some good results along the way. But more important than results is teaching them the best way to ride, how to train, and to nurture them through our system.”
BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said planning to create a development team was several years in the making. “Now that we’re finally making it happen, we are excited about the possibilities it creates,” he said. “We will be helping young athletes start their career off right and growing and developing them in a system where their progress will be closely followed.” Verbrugghe will be assisted by assistant director Jens Blatter, team doctor Scott Major and Scott Nydam, performance advisor and trainer.
The team’s 14-rider roster includes six from Switzerland (Valentin Baillifard, Tom Bohli, Silvan Dillier, Kilian Frankiny, Arnaud Grand and Stefan Küng), four Americans (Taylor Eisenhart, Paul Lynch, Alexey Vermeulen and Tyler Williams), Belgian Loic Vliegen, Italian Igniazio Moser and Jakub Novak of the Czech Republic. Australian Tim Roe rounds out the squad and is the most experienced, having spent two seasons with the BMC Racing Team. “It will be good to have Tim as a road captain as he recovers from the back troubles that affected his performances the past two years,” Verbrugghe said. Vliegen said he did not hesitate when he was offered a roster spot. “BMC is a big team with a good management,” he said. “I hope to show good things next year, especially in races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which is special for me as I come from the area.”
Road And Track Talent
Talent on the squad extends from the road to the track, where Bohli is the current junior world champion in the team pursuit – as well as the Swiss national junior road and time trial champion. Dillier won the Swiss Under 23 time trial title this year to go along with his Under 23 European championship in the 4,000-meter pursuit and the madison. Novak is the reigning Czech Republic Under 23 time trial champion while Küng earned the junior European championship in the madison in July. All of this bodes well, Verbrugghe said, especially with the April opening of the Velodrome Suisse, a 250-meter track in Central Switzerland spearheaded by BMC Racing Team sponsor Andy Rihs.
Verbrugghe said the team will conduct a January training camp in Spain before starting its season with one-day races in Europe in February. “Important early-season races for us will be the Tour de Normandie in March, Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April and the Giro Bio in June, plus all the Under 23 stage races and one-day races in between,” he said.
BMC Development Team Roster:
Valentin Baillifard (SUI), Tom Bohli (SUI) Silvan Dillier (SUI), Taylor Eisenhart (USA), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Arnaud Grand (SUI), Stefan Küng (SUI), Paul Lynch (USA), Igniazio Moser (ITA), Jakub Novak (CZE), Tim Roe (AUS), Alexey Vermeulen (USA), Loic Vliegen (BEL), Tyler Williams (USA).