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Mike Sayers during the 2007 Tour de Nez.
Wants more time with family
Mike Sayers has been with the BMC Racing Team since its inception in 2007, when he joined as a rider on the US Continental squad, and as a directeur sportif since 2009 after retiring from the peloton, but he is set to leave at the end of this season just as the team has reached the pinnacle of its success in the WorldTour.
Four years of spending the majority of the year away from his young son Brody and his wife Nicole has worn on the Sacramento, California resident, and the team was not willing to give him more time stateside.
"It was not my first choice to leave, but that's how it worked out," Sayers told Cyclingnews. He has one more race to direct before stepping away from the team.
"It is difficult to make this choice, but cycling is cycling. I'm not going to decide against my son. My wife and I have been discussing this for the past six months, trying to figure out how to make it work, so it isn't a snap decision. We decided that if the team wasn't going to give me more days at home, I would stop.
"My wife is in banking and has a successful career, and we decided we wouldn't give up her career to move our family to Europe. You have to be full time over there, and the past four years I've been averaging 60 days per year with my family. I just don't think it's appropriate anymore."
After working full time since age 16, including his lengthy career as a professional cyclist, it is unlikely that Sayers will be content to be a stay at home father.
"I think I've been good at getting projects off the ground. I was part of building the Mercury team, we had the aim of growing from a Continental team to the ProTour, but that didn't work, and then with BMC. I've seen both sides. The work with BMC has been very rewarding, the riders and staff there are like family, they really are.
"Jackson Stewart and I were the first established professionals that Gavin Chilcott hired in 2007, to help start the team. That's the most difficult part of letting it go.
"I'm pretty sure someone in cycling will give me an opportunity in the future. I have a lot more experience now then when I retired as a professional cyclist. I have more language skills and operational skills, so I'm a little more relaxed now [about the future]."
In addition to looking forward to more time with his family, Sayers is also keen to reconnect with one of his other loves - his bicycle.
"I became a professional cyclist because I loved riding, so I'm looking forward to getting back on my bike a little as well as touching base with all the friends who I haven't had time for over the past four years."
He also hopes to stay connected with USA Cycling, after directing the men's elite teams for the 2012 Olympic Games and UCI Road World Championships.
"Those races were definitely the highlight of my career," Sayers said. "We have a really good group of young guys who are on the cusp of something really good. With a little more work and more maturity, they can be very good in Richmond in 2015. I'm pretty excited about the group we have coming through USA Cycling right now, and would like to stay involved with them in some fashion."