There are some funny trends happening in cycling. On the one hand, a spirit of doom and gloom pervades the sport, under siege by doping accusations and convictions to the point where you start to wonder if it's all gonna fall apart. Really, things just get worse and worse.
But then you look inside a team and things don't match that first impression. Take Team BMC. Granted, they aren't caught up in much of the gloom. But if this is where cycling is headed, if the shape of things at this one club is any indication, cycling is entering a pretty interesting phase.
Take the new BMC Concept Store in Nazareth, about two exits down the E17 from Gent. Yep, a cycling team goes retail. But it's also a meeting place for bicycle industry business, with spaces for presentations, and is attached to the team's Service Course. Through a glass wall you can stand in the store and watch the team mechanics work over a bike (yours, perhaps, for the right price?). I'm not sure where they stashed the wind tunnel but it can't be far away. Seriously, if you're going to pay the rent for a Service Course, it's a very interesting innovation to do what BMC has done here. I'll be interested to learn more about what they hope to accomplish with the Concept Store; for now, I can only guess that this is another Jim Ochowicz innovation, along with an excellent designer.
Oh, and not to be overshadowed but they rolled out the team today as well. Here's the full squad:
Hey look! Thor Hushovd on the left! Something tells me he won't go unnoticed again this year. Also, "fifty bucks to whoever can spot Taylor Phinney!" said nobody, ever.
Yep, we see him now, thanks.
Patrick did spend a few minutes quizzing Tejay van Garderen about the upcoming season...
TvG will follow a totally different program as preparation to the Tour than Cadel Evans , riding Argentina, Paris Nice, Criterium International ( Corsica ) and California. Tejay professed his respect for Evans, refuting the notion of co-leaders and saying he still had a lot to learn from Cadel – especially the very professional way Cadel prepares himself. But van Garderen sees chances in this Tour – 2 time trials (total 65 kms ) and of course the team time trial where BMC expects to do well. And yes, he will miss George Hincapie as teammate and road captain, whom van Garderen said was like a father to him, according to Patrick.
OK, back to the rollout.
Ochowicz and Lelangue chat for/with the press.
Service course time. It's a little mind-boggling to us amateurs how many sweet bikes you can fit in one space.
Answer: a lot. As to the front of the house, here's the showroom. For pictures of the retail space, go here.
And to top it all off... they have a pretty stylin bus, because of course they do.
There you have it. If Team BMC don't produce results this year, they won't be able to blame their equipment support.