Bookwalter signs for Mitchelton-Scott
First American to ride for men's team
After spending his entire career with the BMC Racing Team, Brent Bookwalter is set to move to Mitchelton-Scott next season. The 34-year-old is the first American to sign for the men's team since their inception in 2012.
Bookwalter turned professional in 2008, joining the BMC Racing team when they were in their second year and still racing at Pro Continental level. He has stayed with them since then, turning into a solid support rider who has also been given his own opportunities.
His best results have come in his native USA, with podium places at the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in 2013 and fourth overall at last year’s Tour of California.
Bookwalter joins a long list of riders departing BMC following their lengthy hunt for a 2019 sponsor. After 11 seasons in the same set-up, it is a chance for Bookwalter to test himself in a new environment.
"I have been fortunate to have a long and steady career at the same organisation," Bookwalter said in a team press release. "I really enjoyed that and I think both sides have really benefited from that but I felt like I am getting up there in age, I will be 35 next year, and I am always looking to keep improving, keep things exciting and stay motivated and inspired so I just felt it was time for a switch in scenery and environment. I’m optimistic and confident that will enhance the motivation, be a breath of fresh air and maximise the upcoming seasons.
"I have always looked at Mitchelton-Scott and respected the team on a performance level but I have also seen the culture and comradery between the guys on the road, how they ride with each other and for each other, which I think has positively impacted their results and performances significantly."
Bookwalter will take up a similar position at Mitchelton-Scott that he has carved out for himself in recent years, helping the team’s GC contingent while taking his own chances when they arrive.
"I’ve had some talks with the management about the direction, how they see me fitting in and what role they expect me to fill and with the team’s increased general classification focus, I am coming in to support them and the team’s ambition for Grand Tour podiums. I want to be able to contribute to those results and further cement the team as a GC threat in the peloton," explained Bookwalter.
"On top of that, I’m also looking for some personal improvement and success too. I’m still hungry to get results and I’m still hungry to be at the front of races and feel that finish line fire if the opportunities present themselves."
With promising talent such as Jack Haig and Robert Power alongside the team’s established GC crop of Esteban Chaves and the Yates brothers - Simon and Adam - directeur sportif Matt White hopes to utilise the experience that Bookwalter has gained during his years as a professional.
"We have some young talented guys coming through, but we also need experience to steady the ship at times. Brent has been part of the WorldTour circuit a while now, he was part of Cadel Evans’ victory at the Tour de France and has ridden Grand Tours with some established leaders," said White.
"We were looking for a guy to help pass on his knowledge to our younger riders whilst still being very capable of delivering under pressure. I am very confident that Brent will be a great fit into our team and what we are looking to achieve."
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By Josh Croxton