Jeff Louder (BMC Racing Team) will not be defending his title at the Redlands Bicycle Classic on March 25-28 in California. Louder is scheduled to support his teammate and current UCI road world champion Cadel Evans at the Criterium International held the same weekend in France.
"Since the BMC Racing Team has grown and switched focus to a European-based program I will be unable to defend my title at the RBC this year," Louder told Cyclingnews.
"I wish I could be two places at once, but my goals are in Europe and I will be racing Criterium International in support of Cadel Evans the weekend of Redlands," he added. "I will be following the results and expect a great race amongst the racers in the US."
The Redlands Bicycle Classic is a four-day stage race and the first event on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) series. Last year, BMC displayed an outstanding performance when Louder won the stage one and his teammate Jackson Stewart won stage two. Louder went on to win the overall title ahead of Tom Zirbel who placed second and Ben Day in third.
This year, the Redlands Bicycle Classic's Pro/Cat 1 men's peloton will host 26 teams totaling nearly 200 riders. "We will have all the best teams in North America represented," said Scott Welsh, marketing director of the Redlands Bicycle Classic. "We are looking for a spectacular week of racing to kick off the NRC."
The BMC Racing Team will announce the riders competing alongside Evans and Louder at the Criterium International at a later date.