The BMC Racing Team has received Wild Card status from the UCI for the 2010 season, according to a press release from the team. Wild Card status opens the way for invitations to cycling's monuments and grand tours. The decision does not come as a huge surprise, after BMC signed on current World Champion Cadel Evans, past World Champion Alessandro Ballan, and current U.S. National Champion and classics talent George Hincapie during the off-season. Wild Card teams also participate in the UCI's bio-passport monitoring program. This year marks the second season that BMC has held the Wild Card status.
Watch for an upcoming interview here with George Hincapie. Full press release below the fold.
Photo copyright ZoeRochelle, Podium Cafe Photo Collection.
BMC Racing Team Awarded UCI Wild Card For 2010
The BMC Racing Team learned Monday it has been granted Wild Card status for the 2010 season by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
The decision by the UCI’s license committee earns the U.S.-registered professional continental team the right to be invited to races on both the UCI ProTour schedule and the Historic Monuments of Cycling calendar.
BMC Racing Team President Jim Ochowicz expressed appreciation to the UCI for once again granting the team Wild Card status that has previously allowed it to participate in a number of high-profile races, including Paris-Roubaix, the Tour de Romandie and the Dauphiné Libéré. "This was critical to fulfilling our central goals, not only for 2010 but also into the future," Ochowicz said. "It paves the way for an ambitious schedule of racing that will expose even more people to the BMC Racing Team and our outstanding line-up of sponsors."
Ready for the first event
In 2009, the UCI created the World Calendar, which brought together UCI ProTour events and the "Historic Monuments of Cycling" races. A total of 28 events comprise the 2010 calendar, 17 on the ProTour and 11 in the Historic division. The Santos Tour Down Under is the first event on the 2010 UCI ProTour road calendar. BMC’s participation in the race (Jan. 19-24) in Australia was contingent upon it receiving the Wild Card. Director Sportif John Lelangue, who is on-site in Adelaide with the seven-member squad that will contest the race, said being able to showcase riders like current world road champion Cadel Evans and U.S. road champion George Hincapie in the world’s most prestigious races is a plus for both the team and cycling fans alike.
Competitive in every race
"We expect to be competitive in every race we enter, whether it’s a one-day classic, a one-week stage race or a Grand Tour," Lelangue said. "All the pieces are in place for this team to get the most out of its talent – be it in Europe, the United States or anywhere in the world." Teams undergoing review for Wild Card status had to meet strict quality criteria in a number of areas: sporting (results, squad members);legal (respect of regulations), financial (rigorous management, accountability) and ethical (management and anti-doping initiatives). As a Wild Card team, BMC will participate in the UCI’s biological passports program by contributing to the funding of the project and providing whereabouts information.