As reports emerged that BMC Racing could be saved by a merger with CCC Sprandi Polkowice, general manager Jim Ochowicz refused to comment on the deal.
The French newspaper L’Equipe reported on Wednesday morning that a merger could be in place. Cycling Weekly understands that the Polish team, after racing the Giro d’Italia in 2015 and 2017, is pushing for a spot in the WorldTour, meaning the fit could be perfect.
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“They have been in the sport for eight years or so, they know cycling,” Ochowicz said. “We don’t comment on rumours, though, that’s our policy. We’ve had rumours about sponsors for months on end, every week something new.
“We are here focused on the Tour de France, we’re in the yellow jersey, and we are pleased with our performance so far. That’s our focus right now. Sponsorship is also a focus, but it’s a daily actively we go through all the time.”
In May, reports emerged that Deloitte would sponsor the team with Giant bicycles for 2019 and beyond. However Ochowicz said that his was just a rumour.
“That Deloitte rumour in the Giro hurt us,” Ochowicz said. “The people who were looking assumed I was fine and eased off their efforts. That was a three-week setback or so.”
Watch: Tour de France 2018 route guide
Polish team CCC Sprandi Polkowice has been racing since 2000 with a beefed up push in the last few years that saw it race the Giro d’Italia in 2015 and 2017 having first appeared in the race in 2003. The American manager of BMC joked about the three-letter connection.
“And I’m Polish too!” he said. “I’ve never been to Poland in my whole life. My grandfather took a ship to Philadelphia somehow and ended up in Milwaukee.”
The team must find a sponsor soon as riders are already signing for other teams. Cycling Weekly can confirm that Richie Porte will race with Trek-Segafredo in 2019, while Tejay van Garderen is said to be with EF Education First-Drapac while Rohan Dennis moves to Bahrain-Merida.
Greg Van Avermaet could follow BMC bikes to Dimension Data. The bike manufacturer could bring extra cash to pave the way for the 2016 Olympic road champion and Classics star to join the South African team.
Right now, the Belgian wears yellow and BMC enjoy an extra bit of publicity that could catch a potential sponsor’s eye.
“What we are doing here is concentrating on the Tour de France and that’s why we are in the yellow jerseys right now,” Ochowicz added.
“That’s our mission and that’s our goal. We are focused on that, we are happy we are in the yellow. We have been in the sponsorship search for more than a year now, that’s just an ongoing process that take place every single day.
“First, the yellow jersey pays our bills right now, it pays right now for the sponsors that we have for the year. We are getting tremendous publicity globally that has value and with that value comes exposure, and that exposure is probably helping us in some way.”