Stefan Küng’s impressive display at the Tour de Romandie, where he soloed to victory in stage four, has been rewarded with a place in BMC’s team for the Giro d’Italia.
The 21-year-old is one of four debutants in BMC’s nine-man squad, with the Swiss rider in his first season as a professional.
“I remember when we talked to Stefan about doing the Giro,” BMC sport director Fabio Baldato said. “His eyes got very big and he was really excited. This will be a good experience for him and I am sure he and the other young guys like Rick and Silvan can contribute.
“Doing a three-week race really helps you take the next step toward becoming a stronger, more experienced rider. You see their body and their attitude change in a grand tour much more than in a one-week week race or a classic.”
While Küng, Silvan Dillier, Rick Zabel and Marcus Burghardt are set to compete in their first Italian tour, the squad has plenty of experience in the shape of Damiano Caruso and Philippe Gilbert.
Caruso finished ninth in last year’s Vuelta a España, while Gilbert won the last stage he completed at the Giro, but that was back in 2009 when he won the penultimate stage.
“The Giro will be difficult because I am still suffering from my crash at Flèche Wallonne,” Gilbert said. “I have done a lot of work to recover, but my goals have kind of changed because I do not know if I will be at my best level. I am hoping to do a good start with the team in the team time trial and then see day-by-day what I can do.”
BMC Squad for the Giro d’Italia
Darwin Atapuma, Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Damiano Caruso, Silvan Dillier, Philippe Gilbert, Stefan Küng, Klaas Lodewyck, Rick Zabel