UCI decision clears way for Tour Down Under start
The BMC Racing Team announced today that the International Cycling Union (UCI) has granted the squad Wild Card status for the 2010 season. The decision by the UCI licence committee confers on the U.S.-registered Professional Continental team the right to be invited to races on both the UCI ProTour and Historic calendars.
"This was critical to fulfilling our central goals, not only for 2010 but also into the future," said Jim Ochowicz, BMC Racing Team president. "It paves the way for an ambitious schedule of racing that will expose even more people to the BMC Racing Team and our outstanding line-up of sponsors."
In 2009, the UCI created the World Calendar, which brought together UCI ProTour events and the "Historic Monuments of Cycling" races. A total of 28 events comprise the 2010 calendar, 17 on the ProTour and 11 in the Historic division. The Santos Tour Down Under is the first event on the 2010 UCI ProTour road calendar. BMC's participation in the race (Jan. 19-24) in Australia was contingent upon it receiving the Wild Card.
Director Sportif John Lelangue, in Adelaide, Australia with the seven-member squad that will contest the Santos Tour Down Under, said being able to showcase riders like current world road champion Cadel Evans and U.S. road champion George Hincapie in the world's most prestigious races is a plus for both the team and cycling fans alike.
"We expect to be competitive in every race we enter, whether it's a one-day classic, a one-week stage race or a Grand Tour," Lelangue said. "All the pieces are in place for this team to get the most out of its talent - be it in Europe, the United States or anywhere in the world."
Teams undergoing review for Wild Card status had to meet strict sporting, legal, financial and ethical criteria. As a Wild Card team, BMC will participate in the UCI's biological passport program by contributing to the funding of the project and providing whereabouts documentation for testing riders.