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BMC focus on stage wins in Vuelta debut

After missing out on an invitation to last year's race, BMC arrive at the 2011 Vuelta a Espana chasing stage victories, but with no aspirations for the overall. Director Sportif John Lelangue explained that with no recognised general classification leader there would be more freedom for the riders in Spain to ride for themselves.

"We don't have the same objective as we had at the Tour de France [winning with Cadel Evans]," Lelangue said. "So this race is wide open for all the guys."

The definition of an all-round team, BMC brings riders capable of winning on all terrains. Ivan Santaromita, Mathias Frank and Johann Tschopp will be the team's linchpins as the race tilts up. Santaromita will get the chance to show off what he can do on the climbs after working as one of the key mountains lieutenants to Cadel Evans at the Tour. The race also marks the return to grand tour racing for Mauro Santombrogio after the Italian sat out the Giro d'Italia due to his alleged links to the Mantova investigation.

In the sprints, BMC will look to Greg Van Avermaet with the Belgian likely to rely on the support of fast developing American Talylor Phinney as well as Italian Manuel Quinziato. Van Avermaet won the Tour de Wallonie as well as taking second in the Tour of Belgium and has been a stage winner at the Vuelta in the past. Phinney meanwhile is fresh off winning his first race as a professional in the Eneco Tour’s prologue time trial and is excited about debuting in his first grand tour.

"I'm looking forward to this race and I'm really excited to see what we can accomplish as a group," the reigning Under 23 world time trial champion said.

"We have the potential to have a good Vuelta and I hope to be able to contribute to that. I think this will be a good experience for me. Looking forward to the worlds, this is the best preparation that I can think of."

BMC Racing Team for the Vuelta a España:

Mathias Frank (Swi), Martin Kohler (Swi), Karsten Kroon (Ned), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Quinziato (Ita), Mauro Santambrogio (Ita), Ivan Santaromita (Ita), Johann Tschopp (Swi), Greg Van Avermaet (Bel).

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