The future of the BMC Racing team has been secured, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, thanks to investment from Deloitte, with the accounting giant reported to be joining as title sponsor from 2019.
The American-registered team have faced uncertainty over their future over the past few years, but the situation has intensified in recent months as general manager Jim Ochowicz has scrambled for the funds required to keep the team afloat in 2019 and beyond. Andy Rihs, who had owned and backed the team since its inception in 2007, died last month, and the team can no longer count on his personal investment.
The arrival of Deloitte, one of the 'big four' global professional services firms with a revenue of $38.8bn, would allow the team to continue at its current level, and Ochowicz to start re-signing his riders, all of whom are out of contract at the end of 2018.
The team's star riders, Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet and Tour de France hopeful Richie Porte, had expressed loyalty to the team but clearly stated they couldn't afford to wait until the summer and would soon have to start looking for new teams. According to De Telegraaf, Van Avermaet is already guaranteed to stay next year, as is Rohan Dennis, who is currently in the top 10 at the Giro d'Italia.
Rihs was also the owner of BMC bicycles, and De Telegraaf report that the team will no longer use the Swiss manufacter's bikes, switching instead to Giant. The Sunweb team, who currently use Giant bikes, are reported to be changing to Cervelo, who currently provide for Dimension Data.
Dimension Data also come into the story given that Deloitte is one of the South African team's key sponsors. Though not a title sponsor, it is understood they have contributed to a significant portion of the budget since joining in 2016 as the team stepped up to WorldTour level.
There is no indication in the Telegraaf report how Deloitte's title sponsorship of the BMC team would affect their involvement in the Dimension Data team.
Contacted by Cyclingnews, BMC Racing declined to comment on the story. Dimension Data are yet to respond to a request for comment.
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