Rumours that Columbia-HTC's George Hincapie and Astana's Levi Leipheimer are entertaining the possibility of joining the fast-growing, American-based BMC Racing Team continue to circulate as the hustle and bustle of rider-team transfers for the 2010 season builds momentum.
The Professional Continental team is based in Leipheimer's hometown of Santa Rosa, California. Although Leipheimer could not confirm what team he will race for in 2010, he acknowledged his fondness of BMC's program. "I can't make any formal announcement about my next team right now," Leipheimer said to Cycingnews. "As you know, we are both based in Santa Rosa, and I think very highly of them so I'm not surprised by these 'rumblings'."
Leipheimer's current contract with Astana expires at the end of 2009, leaving the path open for the three-time Tour of California winner to make a transition from the team where he has ridden for the past two years. "He [Leipheimer] has a contract until the end of 2009," Philipe Maertens, Astana's press officer, told Cyclingnews on Tuesday. "So he will find a new contract either with Astana or another team."
Hincapie is in a position similar to Leipheimer's, with his contract to Columbia-HTC due to end this season. Cyclingnews spoke to Hincapie about his future plans, but the 36-year-old declined to comment on where he would ride next year.
If Leipheimer and Hincapie sign with BMC, it will not be the first time that they have ridden on the same team. Both riders have spent periods of their professional careers with the former US Postal/Discovery Channel formation. Hincapie rode for the American squad for ten years (1997-2007), while Leipheimer was a member of US Postal for two years (2000-2001) and Discovery Channel in 2007.