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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. - Byron

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

CCC to Become Title Sponsor of BMC team in 2019

I was glad to get this news from the team:

16 July, 2018, Annecy (FRA): The future of Continuum Sports, currently operating as BMC Racing Team, was confirmed on the first rest day of the Tour de France with the news that Polish shoe and bag company CCC will become title sponsor in 2019.

CCC owner and president Dariusz Milek joined BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz at stage 9 of the Tour de France to sign the partnership and confirm current Tour de France race leader and 2016 Olympic Champion Greg Van Avermaet as the team's marquee rider.

Milek, whose company CCC has been a sponsor at the UCI Professional Continental level since 2006, is excited to see CCC join the UCI WorldTour in a move that will see the brand's visibility increase on a global scale.

"I am excited to see CCC partner with Continuum Sports and reach the highest level of cycling. We have been looking for an opportunity to join the WorldTour and this was the perfect chance to partner with a well established and respected team, with Greg Van Avermaet as team leader," Milek said.

For Ochowicz, the partnership with CCC represents an opportunity to begin a new and exciting chapter in the WorldTour for Continuum Sports. "It is no secret that we have been looking for a new title sponsor for 2019 and we are excited to be here today at the biggest cycling race in the World to announce CCC as the title sponsor of Continuum Sports from 2019 onwards. CCC president Dariusz Milek shares the same passion for cycling as our organization and together we can continue to build on the team's existing success," Ochowicz explained.

"To also be able to announce that current Tour de France race leader Greg Van Avermaet has renewed his contract beyond the 2018 season in an exciting way to begin this relationship. We have seen Greg develop into one of the best riders in the World and we are delighted to retain him as the team's star rider in 2019. We have a busy few months ahead of us as we begin to plan for the next season so I am looking forward to welcoming CCC as title sponsor."

Greg van Avermaet

Looks like Greg van Avermaet knows where his paycheck is coming from next year.

Van Avermaet is motivated to continue his career with Continuum Sports after already achieving multiple career highlights with the organization. "I'm really happy to be able to announce my plans for the future, especially today when I can still say that I am the leader of the Tour de France. I have spent eight years with the team and have had so many good moments over those years so it's exciting to know that we will continue together. To have a team more or less focused on me and the Classics is a unique opportunity and I'm looking forward to next season with CCC as title sponsor. I think everyone will be happy to learn that the team is continuing, for the sake of the riders and staff but also for the sport of cycling," Van Avermaet said.

In keeping with team policy, no other details of the partnership were released.

Key Q&As

What will the team be called?

CCC will become the title sponsor of the United States-registered UCI WorldTour team while Continuum Sports will continue as the paying agent. The exact title of the team will be determined shortly.

What will the management structure look like?

Dariusz Milek will be the owner of the team and Jim Ochowicz will continue as General Manager.

Is this a merger of BMC Racing Team and CCC Sprandi Polkowice?

This is not a merger of BMC Racing Team and CCC Sprandi Polkowice. CCC has identified the exciting opportunity to assume title sponsorship of a UCI WorldTour cycling team and in doing so is partnering with the existing Continuum Sports organization.

How many riders and staff will be retained from each team?

With the title sponsorship now announced, the planning phase for the 2019 season has begun and the rider and staff rosters will soon be determined.

How many riders will the team have in 2019?

The objective is to operate with a roster of 23-25 riders. Announcements of existing rider contract renewals will take place when appropriate and under UCI regulations, new riders joining the team cannot be announced before August 1.

What are the sporting aspirations of the team?

At this stage, with Greg Van Avermaet as the team's leader, the team will be focused on success at the spring Classics. As the rider roster develops, so too will the team's ambitions and objectives for stage races and Grand Tours.

What is the budget and contract duration of the title partnership?

In keeping with team policy, no information related to the budget and contract duration of the partnership will be released.

Will BMC still be a sponsor?

BMC is not expected to continue as bike supplier beyond 2018.

Who will be the bike manufacturer of the team?

Contract negotiations with a new bike manufacturer are currently ongoing and will be announced in due course.

Will TAG Heuer and Sophos continue as sponsors in 2019?

TAG Heuer is contracted as a partner of Continuum Sports in 2019 and this partnership will continue. Negotiations with Sophos are ongoing.

Will there be any secondary sponsors?

At this stage, CCC will be the sole title sponsor of Continuum Sports. The search for sponsorship at different levels is an ongoing objective of all teams and this is the case for Continuum Sports as well.

Jens Keukeleire abandons Tour

Keukeleire's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this bad news:

Bad news from the MRI scan that Jens Keukeleire underwent this afternoon. The Lotto Soudal rider crashed yesterday after only 15 kilometres of racing and won’t be standing at the start of the tenth Tour stage tomorrow.

Team doctor Servaas Bingé:  “Jens has a fracture in the upper part of his splint-bone and his thigh is bruised. Because of a straining of the ligaments his knee is unstable and that makes racing impossible. We did a puncture to drain the superfluous blood and to remove the swelling, but that didn’t turn out to be the solution. Starting the stage is not an option. Jens will be wearing a brace for the upcoming two weeks and the next four weeks he can’t do demanding exercises.”

richie Porte and Jens Keukeleire

Jens Keukeleire and Richie Porte just after their stage nine crash.

Jens Keukeleire: “Everyone was talking about the nervousness and the cobbles yesterday, but the crash in which among other Richie Porte and I got caught up, had nothing to do with that. Michael Valgren had a chain problem and that caused the crash. Of course my knee hurt, but it was only after the stage that it started to swell. You hope to become better on such a rest day, but today I got the hard verdict.”

“I came to the Tour to forget about my spring, which was also full of bad luck, and therefore it’s such a shame that I need to abandon the race. It’s too early to make new plans, but I hope to be able to race in the last part of the season and to have a good winter afterwards.”

Ag2r's Alexis Vuillermoz also leaves Tour

Vuillermoz's team sent me this:

Alexis Vuillermoz, who unfortunately ran into a spectator in cobbled sector 3 during the 9th stage of the Tour on Sunday, has as a result “suffered a small fracture of the right shoulder blade” and will be unable to start the 10th stage on Tuesday, confirmed Eric Bouvat, medical director of the Ag2r La Mondiale team.

Vuillermoz, Alexis

Vuillermoz waits for the team car in stage nine.

“A spectator with a camera stepped out into the road and didn’t move back, and I just didn’t have time to avoid the collision. I hit the camera. I have a fractured scapula, and will need to have further tests to see if I need surgery. This whole first part of the Tour has been marked by bad luck, particularly for Silvan, Axel and Mathias, all of whom crashed. Nevertheless, we have kept to the goal of getting Romain to the start of the mountain stages in a good position. On a personal level, this is a huge disappointment. I really wanted to help Romain in his quest. But the team remains very strong and I will be the number 1 fan in front of my TV.”

Team Sky's update before TDF Stage ten heads into the Alps:

Chris Froome is looking forward to the second week of the Tour de France as the race takes to the Alps with a trio of punishing stages that will start to shape the overall standings.

Froome and Team Sky safely negotiated the tough terrain of Roubaix on stage nine and following a successful Sunday on the cobbles of Northern France, the 33 year old paused on the rest day to enjoy brief respite before Tuesday’s testing trial which begins in Annency.

He said: “It was nice to stretch the legs out and there’s a few stiff muscles after the cobbles. We managed to make it through with no major injuries or no major time loss so I think we can pretty happy with that.

“I’m feeling good and optimistic about the upcoming stages.”

Stage 10 sees the first significant climbs of the 2018 edition of Le Tour, with the uncategorised Montée du plateau des Gileres one of the biggest challenges of the week. “I don’t think there’s much that’s really going to happen up there. It’s a long way to the finish, it’s 2km, it’s not anything really. It’s different to be on dirt roads for a little bit, but we’re certainly not going to be changing any of our equipment for that.”

“It’s a tough stage, it will definitely start shaping GC. I think riders like Greg van Avermaet will find it difficult to hang on tomorrow. It’s a proper climbers stage and over the next three days we’ll see exactly [how the climbers are]."
With Geraint Thomas currently second on GC and Froome eighth, Team Sky have two viable options for the Maillot Jaune going into the second week of the race.

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas came out of stage nine still in second place.

And Froome believes that it will be crucial in matching other teams who also have multiple riders at the top of the standings, adding: "We’re still here to try and win the race whichever way that is and I think it’s fantastic for us to have that option.

“Obviously G’s in the perfect place now, but I’m still very much in the game and it’s great for us to have those options to play when it comes down to it, especially looking at some of our rivals who have got two or three options in their team so hopefully we’ll be able to cover any threats.

“We’re even stronger with the experience of being in this position, how to ride under pressure and the team around us is such a capable group of guys and I think we’re really going to be coming into our element now in the mountains.

“G’s right up there and it’s for other teams to attack us now.”

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