BMC Racing have named Tejay van Garderen and Samuel Sánchez as confirmed starters for the Vuelta a Espana and announced its ten-rider long list for the Spanish grand tour which starts August 20 with team time trial from Balneario Laias to Castrelo de Miño.
"Both Samuel Sánchez and Tejay van Garderen will be protected riders in our team at the Vuelta a Espãna with Samuel as our main General Classification rider. Tejay will be focused on stage victories for the first part of the race and then we will evaluate how everyone is racing, but the team will be built around these two riders," said director Valerio Piva said.
Van Garderen crashed out of the Vuelta on stage 8 last year and will be hoping for better luck third time round. The American will be starting his second grand tour of the 2016 season after finishing 19th overall at the Tour de France and is eyeing off BMC's second straight win in the opening team time trial.
"I'm looking forward to racing the Vuelta a Espãna. Completing two Grand Tours in one year is something I haven't done, and will be a good step in my development. I'm excited for the Team Time Trial as it gives us a good chance to take the jersey. Then I will take the race as it comes and look for opportunities when they present themselves," van Garderen said.
For 38-year-old Sánchez, it will be his first and only grand tour of the season and first three-week race since also abandoning the race last year. A five-time Vuelta stage winner, Sánchez is aiming for his sixth top-ten overall result in what will be his 19th grand tour.
"My main objective will be to finish in the top ten in the General Classification. It will be difficult as we'll have top notch participation, but we definitely want to win a stage and do very well in the opening Team Time Trial. I believe we will bring a very competent and focused team for what will be a very hard Vuelta a Espãna," Sánchez said.
Tour de France winner Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, and Nairo Quintana have all been confirmed as starters for the race. Second place finisher at the Giro d'Italia Esteban Chaves, and Steven Kruijswijk, who was fourth at the Italian grand tour, will also line out for the race and battle for the general classification.
The support cast for Sánchez and van Garderen will be confirmed in the coming weeks after the Vuelta a Burgos, Tour of Utah and Olympic Games all conclude. Piva added that end-of-season aims will also be considered when deciding the team.
"Some of the riders in the long list are currently competing in Rio, and some are currently racing at Vuelta a Burgos and the Tour of Utah. We will finalize our selection after these races are finished, also keeping in mind our other objectives for the final part of the season including the UCI Team Time Trial World Championships," Piva added.
American Taylor Phinney could ride his first grand tour since the 2013 Giro d'Italia and fourth of his career having been named on the long list. One rider not named on the long list is Peter Velits who wore the first red leader's jersey of the race in 2015.
BMC Racing Team's Vuelta a Espana long list: Darwin Atapuma (Col), Silvan Dillier (Sui), Jempy Drucker (Lux), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Ben Hermans (Bel), Taylor Phinney (USA), Samuel Sánchez (Esp), Dylan Teuns (Bel), Tejay van Garderen (USA) And Danilo Wyss (Sui)