Olympic gold medallist Samuel Sanchez returns to BMC for the 2015 season, with manager Allan Peiper backing him to make a difference once again

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The 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez has signed for BMC for the 2015 season, returning to the Swiss team after his contract expired at the end of last year.

The 36-year-old Spaniard rode in support of the soon-to-be retired Cadel Evans in the 2014 Giro d’Italia before leading the team at the Vuelta a Espana and notching up his sixth top-10 finish in his home Grand Tour.

“For me, the BMC Racing Team is my team,” Sanchez said on the BMC website. “I know the riders. I know the team. And I don’t like to change much. I prefer one team. As for my fitness, I may not be ready to race tomorrow, but I did a good job at home to stay active. I was riding my mountain bike and doing cyclocross. My level is not good, but it is not bad, either.”

BMC sporting manager Allan Peiper insists Sanchez can still be a difference-maker in the big races, having seen the Spaniard set up Philippe Gilbert for the win in the 2014 Amstel Gold Race with a bold attack on the Cauberg.

“Everyone is very happy to have Sammy back,” Peiper said. “From a sporting perspective, he gives us that much more depth. We saw last year what a game-changer he can be. This year we expect him to contribute in pretty much the same way, but maybe with a little more focus on the support and development of the big influx of young talent we have brought into the team.”

It will be Sanchez’s 16th season as a professional – 14 of which came with Euskadi-Euskatel – in which time he has notched up six Grand Tour stage wins and won the polkadot jersey at the 2011 Tour de France.