Van Garderen to lose key lieutenant
Among the riders IAM Cycling announced would join the squad in 2014, headlined by Sylvain Chavanel, was 26-year-old Swiss Mathias Frank, currently of BMC Racing. Frank is presently contesting Colorado's USA Pro Challenge and earned his third win of the season with a hard-earned stage victory on Tuesday into Breckenridge. After Thursday's queen stage he holds second overall, four seconds behind team captain and new race leader Tejay van Garderen.
While BMC Racing is firing on all cylinders in Colorado, and seemingly winning at will on many fronts since a disappointing Tour de France, Frank spoke to Cyclingnews prior to Thursday's stage about his decision to make the move to Swiss-based Pro Continental team IAM Cycling.
"For me, as a Swiss rider, the team has always been an interesting project - to see how well they're working with the riders," Frank told Cyclingnews. "Since it's a Swiss team there's always been contact. [IAM Cycling assistant directeur sportif] Marcello Albasini used to be my coach as an under 23 rider so the contacts were always there, interest on both sides was there.
"After five really good years with BMC, five years can be half of your career, it came to this moment where it felt like I want to try something else. IAM was really interested in me and I'm convinced it will be a really good team so I'm really looking forward to being part of this."
The Swiss team's marquee signing for 2014 was Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel, along with Frank, Roger Kluge, Jérôme Pineau and Vicente Reynes.
"It only shows how dedicated they are that they want to be a big team, to become one of the best teams in the world," said Frank of the other signings.
2013 has been one of a multitude of solid seasons in Frank's six-year professional career, the last five of which were spent at BMC. Along with his stage victory at the USA Pro Challenge, Frank won two stages at the Tour of Austria and led his home Tour of Switzerland for six days before ultimately finishing fifth overall after the final time trial stage.
Frank has also been a constant among Tejay van Garderen's best results of 2013, highlighted by the 25-year-old American's first career stage race victory at the Amgen Tour of California. Frank rode well, too, finishing fourth overall.
Frank also was a teammate of van Garderen in the American's second place at the Tour de San Luis, fourth place at Paris-Nice and second place at Critérium International
"He's incredibly strong," Frank said of van Garderen. "He has the mentality, the attitude of a real leader and a future Tour de France champion. I'm 100 percent convinced."
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