Sporting and administration factors favour Rihs' team
With a decision regarding the eight ProTour licences available due on October 20, BMC Racing sporting director John Lelangue believes his team is well placed to receive one of the permits to race in cycling's premier series.
Attending the UCI Road World Championships in Geelong, Australia, Lelangue told Cyclingnews that while he's not in charge of the team's bid for a ProTour permit, the signs are good that they will receive one when the eight teams who will gain licences are announced next month.
"I'm not in charge of this [the ProTour licence application] - Jim Ochowicz and Gavin Chilcott are in charge of this. We have put in all the papers and it seems good... the UCI decision will come on the 20th [of October]," said Lelangue.
"We know in terms of sports development we have the level to do it [gain a ProTour licence]. Surely with the results we have had this year; we are in the top ten of the UCI's team classification and we've had a big season, not only with Cadel but also with our older guys.
"We have taken some good names for the future - riders like [Taylor] Phinney and [Tim] Roe, plus [Greg] Van Avermaet, Johan Tschopp, [Ivan] Santaromita, [Manuel] Quinziato... all those guys who have had results in the past," he continued.
"I believe from a sports aspect we are in and I know that Gavin Chilcott is working on the administration side. We just have wait but I'm pretty optimistic on this."
Lelangue added that the team's status - whether it be Pro Continental or ProTour - shouldn't affect its program in 2011, explaining that its experience over the last three years saw it continue to grow in strength, despite not having the coveted ProTour licence.
"It's no problem - we weren't ProTour the last three years and most importantly, this year, and we did almost all the races we wanted to do - big Classics, grand tours, etc."
Last month it was announced that the Cervélo TestTeam would be disbanding and the comany's sponsorhip shifted to Jonathan Vaughters' Garmin-Trnasitions squad. It's widely believed that the team's non-ProTour status was detrimental in a financial sense and forced its owners to take dramatic action.
Lelangue believes that no parallels can be drawn between the Cervélo case and that of BMC Racing, citing Andy Rihs' passion for cycling and the solid financial position he finds himself in as reasons for the squad's future security.
"The situation with Cervélo was totally different to us - Andy Rihs is totally different. He's someone who has invested in cycling for years as an owner of Phonak and BMC," said Lelangue.
"He knows what to do; in this situation we don't have to rely on any co-sponsors or suppliers. That's not my job, either... that's also for Jim Ochowicz. But I'm confident that Andy knows what to do and I'm totally confident BMC will be good with this."