BMC is enjoying the fruits of fielding a full squad at the Cascade Cycling Classic after an early season struggle to compete on the NRC calendar. The UCI exempted the American-based Pro-Continental squad from code 2.1.009 which prevents Pro-Continental teams from competing in non-UCI sanctioned events.
"I think the morale on the team was low when it came out that we couldn't compete in most of the races in the US," said Mike Sayers, the squad's directeur sportif at the Cascade Cycling Classic. "We all appreciate what the UCI did for us by extending an exemption for us and we are really happy as a team to be racing here. Our morale is coming up and the guys are riding well."
UCI code 2.1.009 prohibits ProTour and Professional Continental team from competing in national level events where only UCI continental teams of the country, regional and club teams, national teams and mixed teams may participate. A short-term agreement was made between the UCI and USA Cycling in provide an exemption that allows Team BMC to field full squads at national-level stage races for the remainder of the season.
"Its nice to have a full squad here, wearing our jersey and having our team name in the results, that's great," said BMC's all-rounder Jeff Louder who is currently sitting in second place overall. "The bottom line is that I'm really happy that we've been exempt to be a part of the American races. It's important for us as BMC to race in America and as riders it's important for us to be here and be involved in the races."
The code first surfaced from the rule books at the Tour of the Gila in April when teams Astana and BMC were prohibited from participating. At that time, discussions between USA Cycling and the UCI regarding the upheaval resulted in an agreement where both teams could start three riders wearing nondescript clothing.
"It makes all the difference to us," Sayers continued. "We have some of our more experienced stage race here at Cascade and it's really nice because we have a lot of talent to work with. The guys have been racing hard this week. It is always a treat to race in your home country."
Team BMC will field a full squad in the nationally ranked Tour of Elk Grove and the Tour of Utah.