The standout performances of the BMC Racing team’s 2015 season perhaps came not from one individual, but from a collective. The team time trial squad shone throughout the campaign, winning at the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a España, and capping it with a second successive World Championships title in Richmond.
Italian Daniel Oss has been a key part of the highly successful squad over the last couple of years, and despite solid Classics campaigns, it is the team time trialling that has given him most joy.
“For me, the peak of the season was the Worlds with the TTT, I was part of the team and it was one of the best days of my life,” he told Cyclingnews at BMC’s winter training camp in Dénia, Spain, this month.
So, what has made the BMC line-up such a formidable winning machine?
“A lot of small things, not one single thing,” Oss said. “The emotional part is important – you’re not alone, you are six, and everybody has to suffer together and respect each other.
“You know how you feel when you win, and when you are suffering. And you also know each other – you start to understand when someone is in difficulty, when someone is stronger, then you put it all together.
“I don’t know about the other teams, but it would be difficult to do more than what we’re doing. We have the bikes, the wheels, tyres, everything is the best; the skinsuit material, the helmet, the glasses, gloves. So it’s everything, it’s not just the riders, it’s also the mechanics, the soigneurs, the coaches.”
A major disappointment for Oss, and for the team’s general manager Jim Ochowicz, is the prospective scarcity of team time trialling on the calendar in 2016. There is a TTT in Tirreno-Adriatico in March but none in the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France, though the Vuelta a España is once again expected to open with a short team test.
“This is the problem. You have maybe one in Tirreno, then I don’t know where, not at the Giro, not at the Tour, maybe at the Vuelta, but I don’t know which of the Worlds riders will do the Vuelta because this year the Worlds is pretty late in the season, so this will be a problem," Oss said.
Another, as always, will be drawing together different riders with different race programmes and finding time to train as a unit. Going for a Worlds treble is the big goal in 2016, and it will no doubt be a stiffer challenge to bring it all together for Qatar next October.
“Everybody has a different season. You have six guys, one is maybe at the Giro, one at the Tour, another doing the Classics. But in the end you have to arrive with the same condition. After the Tour maybe someone has to rest, and someone else is fresh because they didn’t race," Oss explained.
“Hopefully some of us can train together,” he added. “It depends, in the middle of some races maybe. Just four is enough, because the other two maybe are racing. But especially in the last month, we can find two weeks, it’s enough to understand how we can do in the race.”