Should/could I have seen this coming? Doesn't feel like it:
Past Olympic road race champion and grand tour podium finisher Samuel Sánchez will immediately join the BMC Racing Team, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Sunday.
The 35-year-old Spaniard won the 2008 Olympic road race champion in Beijing and owns podium finishes at the Vuelta a España (second in 2009) and the Tour de France (third in 2010). At the 2011 Tour de France, he joined overall winner Cadel Evans on the final podium in Paris as champion of the king of the mountains classification. "Sammy will add a high degree of skill and experience to the BMC Racing Team," Ochowicz said. "He can cover all the bases, but in particular, we look forward to having him support his new teammates in the Ardennes classics and at the grand tours."
Huh. Alrighty then! Throughout his long career at Euskaltel Samu has always been an entertaining rider, and if there were any downhill events on the World Tour calendar, BMC would be big favorites between Evans and Sammy. How much is left in the tank for those uphills, we shall see. In a sense Samu got Hornered, left behind from a team in transition, with age a big part of the why, and one wonders what sort of a winter he had without a team to motivate or organize him. But Horner has always been self-motivated, and Samu's been around long enough to get his own act together, so I wouldn't rule out his making a contribution at BMC.
Of course, Sanchez was also rumored to be one of the anchor tenants at the Alonso squad, but the timing never worked out. Sanchez needs to race now, not a year from now, so BMC it is. The presser I got didn't say whether this was a one-year deal or the standard two years. Since Sanchez is being signed for support/lottery tickets, I wouldn't be shocked if it were a one-year deal and he still goes to Alonso as the veteran rider emeritus next year.
Ursula, he's at 26 points, right?