Jim Ochowicz has still not given up on keeping a team together for 2019, despite time running out as he looks to secure a title sponsor for 2019. BMC is set to step down as a title sponsor at the end of the season and will supply bikes to the African team Dimension Data next season.
Several BMC Racing Team riders, including Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis, have reportedly signed for new teams, while Marc Biver, who helped bring Tag Heuer in as a secondary sponsor plans to start his own team, having broken ties with Ochowicz for next season.
With all of this going on, BMC Racing have the small matter of Tour de France on the horizon as they looked to propel Richie Porte onto the podium in July. With all the speculation and uncertainly Ochowicz has taken the decision to issue a press release in which he states that negotiations are ongoing with several interested parties and that the riders’ focus remains on the Tour itself.
“We are one week out from the biggest race of the year so I would like to confirm that BMC Racing Team's primary objective at the moment is to help Richie Porte reach the podium at the Tour de France. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that the continuation of the team beyond 2018 is of equal importance and a major focus,” Ochowicz said.
“We are excited about our chances of finding a new title sponsor. Within the last several days a range of highly credible opportunities have presented themselves and we are in discussions with these potential sponsors as we speak, as well as others currently still in the pipeline. We can feel the energy building as we discuss the exciting opportunities that they will find with us as their partners in the sport of cycling.”
In June, Ochowicz told Cyclingnews that although he had secondary sponsors on board for 2019 he lacked the big sponsor to save his team. That’s situation hasn’t changed, although the American wasn’t willing to throw the towel in yet.
“We plan to maintain our UCI WorldTour license in 2019 and a roster of 24 or 25 riders. We have incredibly capable staff who cover all the bases in support of our athletes on every occasion. It is understandable that everyone is sensitive about their futures as time goes by so quickly, but we are optimistic about our chances of keeping this organization in business and we hope to have more clarity very soon.”
“We have had great support from all our current sponsors, race organizers, and the loyal fans who follow our exploits week after week throughout the season. They have all encouraged us to stay the course and we will.”
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The 2018 Tour de France starts on July 9 and concludes on July 29 in Paris. Cyclingnews will have complete live coverage from the race, as well as race analysis, blogs, video highlights and podcasts from the team on the ground.