BMC Racing's John Murphy will return to his roots in the US next season after signing a two-year contract with Kenda/5-hour Energy. The Continental outfit also brought on board Paul Mach from Bissell and Nate English from Yahoo! Cycling.
"Murphy brings us ProTour experience," said general manager Chad Thompson. "He is a strong Classics rider, an amazing lead-out man and a sprinter. He will be everything for us in 2012. He will compete heavily in the crits and all major stage races. He is being brought on to captain the team with [Sean] Milne and [Chad] Hartley."
Thompson confirmed returning riders Milne and Hartley along with Luca Damiani, Phil Gaimon, Isaac Howe, Pat Lemieux, Jim Stemper, Bobby Sweeting, Roman Kilun. It was recently announced that the team's all-rounder Ben Day would not be returning to the team having signed a contract with the Professional Continental outfit UnitedHealthcare.
The team will maintain its UCI Continental license during the 2012 season. Kenda will return as the team's title sponsor for one more year and additional sponsors include WCJ Wire, 5-Hour Energy, SRAM and Geargrinder. According to Thompson, he will announce the signing of two more sponsors at a later date.
"There will be some changes in sponsorship we hope, but Kenda remains title for at least one more year," Thompson said. "We are working on two big sponsors now. We are hoping to announce a co-sponsor soon enough and the ball is in their court right now, fingers crossed. We were discussing making the Pro Continental jump early, but we opted to remain Continental and make the jump in 2013 as planned, hopefully."
Kenda/5-hour Energy will compete in a full schedule that includes National Racing Calendar (NRC) criteriums and stage races. The team also hopes to receive invitations to the Tour of California, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge along with several international events. During stage races, it will place more of a focus on its overall contender Phil Gaimon. However, Thompson believes that his roster will be capable of rivaling the teams that dominated national events this year.
"We have added major crit talent and additional time trial and overall classification men," Thompson said. "We will be a well rounded team. We shaped our crit team to beat UnitedHealthcare, hopefully, and our stage race team to beat RealCyclist, hopefully. We will be exciting to watch."
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