Allan Peiper changes direction today to become BMC Racing’s performance director. The move follows years working as a sports director, including helping Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal to win the Giro d’Italia in May.
“I’m moving into a new role, out of the team car. I’ve enjoyed it, winning the Giro with Ryder this year was probably the high point of my close-to-40-year cycling life,” Peiper told Cycling Weekly. “But things change. I’m 52 this year, it’s not that I’m too old to be in the car, but it’s going to be fantastic to learn new tools and new things that make riders better.”
He worked as a sports director for two years with team Davitamon-Lotto, five years with Highroad and this year with Garmin-Sharp.
The US-based BMC Racing team announced his arrival on October 18. General Manager Jim Ochowicz spoke with Cycling Weekly this week from Belgium, where he was preparing to begin a new relationship with Peiper. The team said in a press release that the goal is to focus on performance.
“The role I have with BMC is something I have close to my heart, that’s the development of riders, the follow up of riders, putting the dots on all the Is within a team, within the performance department,” Peiper added. “Whether that be equipment, camps or nutrition, or whatever.”
Peiper will work between the sports directors and management, Ochowicz and John Lelangue, and directly with the riders. The team boasts two young talented riders, Taylor Phinney and Tejay Van Garderen, as well as last year’s Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and World Champion Philippe Gilbert. With them and the rest of the cyclists, he will help coordinate wind tunnel testing and training camps, analyse data and provide feedback.
“Jim Ochowicz gave me an A4 page [filled with] my job description, it’s not something I can embrace in one day,” Peiper said.
“I think it’s pretty much a new role in cycling teams. It’s outside the directors group, between the directors and mangers. A performance manager who is in the senior management team.”
Peiper said it is similar to Rolf Aldag’s team manager role in Highroad or the one his former colleague is starting with Omega Pharma-QuickStep. It somewhat combines the roles Shane Sutton and Carsten Jeppesen fill in team Sky.
“All the team’s have got big at it, they’ve all go to 30 riders, they’ve got five DSs, 40 staff and travel the four continents and race 275 days a year. The logistics of a pro team are just so difficult to get a hold on and create a structure in all departments.”
Peiper signalled a change in directions with the Bec CC Hill Climb in Surrey last month. He raced after losing a bet with organiser and Garmin soigneur, Garry Beckett.
“I had bet on the Great Britain-Australia team pursuit final at the Olympic Games, and I lost. So, my part of the bet was that I had to ride this hill climb and he was to quit smoking,” Peiper said. “It was good fun, I hadn’t raced for ten years and then doing a hill climb event, 25% over 700 metres is pretty tough. It was fun getting ready for a race again and wearing a skin suit, getting warmed up, oil on the legs and Sean Yates with his family out watching me ride!”
Peiper raced for teams Peugeot and Panasonic, winning a stage in the Giro and a prologue in the Dauphiné Libéré before retiring in 1991.