John Lelangue prepares BMC for Classics push with Hincapie and Ballan
BMC Racing is ready for the 2010 Classics and a shot at either the Giro d'Italia or Vuelta a España, said Team Director John Lelangue. The team announced yesterday that it had signed several important riders for the coming season, including World Champion Alessandro Ballan and US Champion George Hincapie.
"If we come with names like George Hincapie, Karsten Kroon, Marcus Burghardt and Alessandro Ballan, then we are coming to compete for victory," Lelangue told Cyclingnews.
Marcus Burghardt, Karsten Kroon, Steve Morabito, Michael Schär and Simon Zahner will also join for 2010, the team announced.
Hincapie and Ballan both have multiple top-ten places in Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. In 2007, Ballan won Ronde and Burghardt won Gent-Wevelgem.
BMC now has the team to win those one-day classics. It will target all Spring Classics from Het Volk through Amstel Gold, said Lelangue.
"For me, as a Belgian, those races are important. We have been growing every year since we became Pro Continental. This was a year of confirmation, mostly in one-week stage racing. Next year, our third year, we wanted to grow in the Classics."
The team raced the Dauphiné Libéré and Tour de Romandie this year, but Lelangue wants to race a Grand Tour in 2010. He wants to take his team to the Tour de France in the next two years, and the Giro d'Italia or Vuelta a España by next year.
BMC is a second division team, or Professional Continental, based in Santa Rosa, California. It will have to rely on wildcard invitations to the top races since without a top division, or ProTour, licence.
"We will not apply for a ProTour licence for 2010," said Lelangue. "We already had a lot of wildcard invites this year, in stage races and in classics. Besides, the ProTour teams also need wild card invites for many of the races, so nothing is certain."
The team is now 85 percent complete and Lelangue expects to have a total of 21 riders for 2010. He said he is still waiting on some riders to reply to offers.
BMC came about in 2008 from the former team Phonak, with John Lelangue continuing as director sportif. Lelangue won the 2006 Tour de France with Floyd Landis, who later lost the title after testing positive for testosterone.
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