By Nigel Wynn
Spanish 2008 Olympic Games road race champion Samuel Sanchez has signed a contract with the BMC Racing Team for 2014 after the demise of Euskaltel-Euskadi left him without a squad.
The 11th-hour deal will see Sanchez bolster the American team's line-up for the classics and Grand Tours - Sanchez has twice finished on a Grand Tour podium: second in the 2009 Vuelta a Espana and third in the 2010 Tour de France.
"Sammy will add a high degree of skill and experience to the BMC Racing Team," said BMC Racing Team's manager Jim Ochowicz.
"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."
Sanchez himself said: "I feel like a rider who has just earned his first contract, I want to thank the entire BMC Racing Team, especially Andy Rihs and Jim Ochowicz, for welcoming me into one of the most prominent teams of the WorldTour.
"It is my hope that I can share my experience with the younger riders on the team. And after riding so many years to beat Cadel Evans, it will be good to help him since he is a rider I know very well."
In January, Italian rider Alessandro Ballan was sacked from the BMC team after being served a two-year ban on doping charges. His removal from the team opened up a place for a new rider.
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