The American team will merge with CCC Sprandi Polkowice for 2019 and have resigned Greg Van Avermaet

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BMC Racing and CCC Sprandi to merge for the 2019 season, saving the team and keeping star rider and current Tour de France race leader Greg Van Avermaet.

American general manager Jim Ochowicz and the team confirmed the deal in a news conference on Monday afternoon.

Many BMC riders have already signed contracts with new teams including Richie Porte, Rohan Dennis and Tejay Van Garderen. It will welcome the influx of Polish cyclists to fill out the 25- to 28-man roster with Van Avermaet and helpers Michael Schär and Nathan Van Hooydonck.

Greg Van Avermaet, winner of the 2017 Paris-Roubaix, Olympic Champion on the road and current Tour yellow jersey, agreed to a three-year deal. Given his deal length, the merger agreement could run for a similar term.

Dennis, stage winner and leader of the Giro d’Italia, has signed for Bahrain-Merida. Porte, who crashed out of the Tour in the Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, will join Trek-Segafredo in 2019. American Tejay van Garderen is confirmed for EF Education First-Drapac.

“We are going to look different, orange, and have a different name, but we have the WorldTour licence and we are going to continue this team that has been going on for 12 years,” Ochowicz said on Monday.

“CCC will be our new sponsor starting in 2019. The name is still to be determined. We will have new goals, objectives and a new look.

“We’ll no longer be spending time at altitude and training camps for Grand Tours, we’ll race differently.”

Without Porte, the team will not have a big Grand Tour leader. Ochowicz said that could change in 2020 or 2021.

Ochowicz risked losing most of his riders as he searched for sponsors deep into the 2018 season. Van Avermaet was said to be following BMC bikes to Dimension Data, but decided to stay in the same structure.

He earns around €1.2 million currently, but the amount of his new contract could be around €1.8 million per year through 2021.

“It wasn’t easy, I wanted to decide earlier, after the Classics, I wanted to have it secured, but I remained loyal and waited,” Van Avermaet said.

“The most important thing was just to keep the team going after eight years of this project. That’s also why I stayed two years ago, I wanted to win a big Classic with BMC. I did it, and I want to continue to do more.”

Ochowicz risked losing most of his riders as he searched for sponsors deep into the 2018 season. Van Avermaet was said to be following BMC bikes to Dimension Data, but decided to stay in the same structure.

He earns around €1.2 million currently, but the amount of his new contract could be around €1.8 million per year through 2021.