Sanchez, Van Avermaet to headline BMC at Strade Bianche

First European race of 2015 for 2008 Olympic champion

Former Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez will make his European debut with BMC Racing Saturday at Strade Bianche in support of three-time top-10 finisher Greg Van Avermaet.

Sánchez, who won the Olympic road race in 2008, was a late signing for the team and has competed only once so far this season in the red-and-black BMC kit, appearing on February 1 at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Australia.

He previously rode with Euskaltel Euskadi before BMC signed him last year. The Spaniard had a strong season in 2014 with the team, taking sixth overall in the Vuelta a España and fifth at Il Lombardia, but he was unable to come to an agreement with BMC at the end of the season. He briefly considered retirement before reaching a deal with the team for the 2015 season.

Van Avermaet previously finished the 200km race sixth in 2013, fifth in 2012 and ninth in 2011, but he is currently facing scrutiny for his relationship with Dr. Chris Mertens. The Belgian doctor is under investigation for providing ozone therapy, a controversial treatment where blood is extracted, infused with ozone and then re-injected. Van Avermaet has denied any wrongdoing, but he has been asked to appear before the Belgian Cycling Association on March 13.

Sanchez and Van Avermaet will be joined on the white dirt roads of Strade Bianche by Brent Bookwalter, Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato and Peter Stetina.

BMC Racing roster for Strade Bianche:
Brent Bookwalter, Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Samuel Sánchez, Peter Stetina, Greg Van Avermaet.

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