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“There is a danger of having too much youth, but to give them time to develop, we might have to sacrifice some results in some races.”

Photo: BMC Racing Team (Continuum Sports, LLC)


20.12.2014 @ 15:21 Posted by Joseph Doherty

BMC Racing Team has undergone a huge change this offseason. Gone are old heads like Cadel Evans and Thor Hushovd, replaced with younger men like Jempy Drucker and Damiano Caruso. Sporting Director Allan Peiper discussed the 2015 team.


"I think losing Cadel is a void that we can’t fill up overnight," Peiper said during the team’s training camp this week. "There is a danger of having too much youth. While you’re waiting for them to develop in the appropriate time that they need, you need to heal a void where you might have to sacrifice some results."


Evans hasn’t retired yet, but will do so after riding the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, meaning he will be out of the team by February and someone else will need to lead at the Giro d’Italia. Hishovd has retired and leaves gap in the Classics roster. Samuel Sanchez has also left the team, meaning there is an Ardennes spot and a GC leadership at a Grand Tour up for grabs. But BMC has brought in some great young riders to fill these gaps.


The team will look to four riders to lead the team: Tejay van Garderen in the Tour de France, Taylor Phinney in the time trials and Cobbled races if he returns from his leg break in time, Greg van Avermaet in the Cobbled Classics and Phlippe Gilbert will lead in the Ardennes Classics.


The four men achieved good results in 2014 and will be hoping to build on them. Van Garderen won another USA Pro Challenge title and was fifth in the Tour de France. Van Avermaet was second in Flanders. Gilbert was top 10 in all three Ardennes races, winning a third Amstel Gold Race and Phinney was the winner of the inaugural Dubai Tour and took another US TT title, plus a great Tour of California stage win.


"The pinnacle for any team is the Tour de France and he is our only leader. Together with Tejay we made the decision that it was the pinnacle event of his year," explained Peiper. "It also comes down to how mature he is and how well he can handle himself. I think with a better tracking towards the Tour, he’ll have better shape going into the Tour and we’ll have a stronger team around him because the team’s focus is the Tour this year."


"I see Greg possibly making one more step because he’s a different rider to what he was in 2013. He’s grown in confidence since the beginning of the year, in leaps and bounds, the way he intermingles with other riders and when he’s with the team there’s a certain swagger to his walk," he explained. "Greg was close to winning Flanders this year and he’s the leader of our flat classics campaign this year. We’re hoping that he can win a classic this year."


Phinney’s success will depend on how well he recovers from the broken leg sustained at the US Road Race. there is hope he can return in time for the Tour of California to the race the Tour de France, but Peiper says that it is too early to confirm that just now.


"He’s a different kid. He’s just been to the wall and back," he said. "There’s certainly a spark missing there. Maybe he’s brightened up over the last few days because of being around his teammates and the fun of being at camp but when he got here the sparkle in his eye was gone."


"California and the Tour are long shots but you have to have something to focus on. He’s the American GI Joe and if anyone can do it then it’s him."


The team is backed up well by new signings. Alessandro De Marchi won a Vuelta stage this year and was constantly in breakaways at the Tour. He will prove a good domestique if needed and can win races. Joey Rosskopf can provide some climbing assistance and Jempy Drucker will give van Avermaet another teammate in the finale of the cobbled races.


Damiano Caruso was third at the Tour of Austria and ninth at the Vuelta, meaning he may lead the team at either the Giro or the Vuelta, plus some other stage races and he can go stage hunting if necessary.


“We have a top-heavy Tour team, so maybe we can tap Caruso for the Giro or the Vuelta,” Peiper said. “There is a danger of having too much youth, but to give them time to develop, we might have to sacrifice some results in some races.”


Rohan Dennis took a great stage win in California and the Aussie can climb and TT, meaning he may contend for Grand Tours in the future. But for now, BMC, who signed him mid-season, want to protect him and keep him developing.


"He’s an exciting prospect. How much can he develop?" Peiper said of the 24-year-old. "He’s got a good pedigree and a big motor. If you can time trial like, and win a mountain top stage in the California like that, then there’s a pedigree there that says there’s development… How far he goes in that really depends on how he climbs."




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