As BMC nears the end of its final season in its current guise prior to a merger with CCC-Sprandi Polkowice, we countdown the greatest moments in the team’s 12-year history.
7. The team’s first major win
2010 was the year that the fledgling US-Swiss project BMC first took significant strides into becoming a serious force in the peloton. A pro-continental team at the time, marquee names such as Alessandro Ballan and George Hincapie were recruited for the new season to ensure debut appearances at the calendar’s most prestigious races.
Their headline signing was Cadel Evans, and it was he who delivered the team’s first major victory at Flèche Wallonne, outwitting Alberto Contador and mastering the Mur de Huy with a perfect sprint in the rainbow stripes, and announcing BMC’s arrival at the big stage.
6. Victory on home roads
Although their WorldTour licence is registered to the USA, the team’s sponsors and significant core of riders means BMC has always been a Swiss team at heart. Consequently, it has always aspired to perform well in Swiss races, but the nation’s highest-profile race, the Tour de Suisse, had remained elusive.
There had been near misses, most notably when Mathias Frank lost the long-held leader’s jersey on the final day in 2013, and last year when Damiano Caruso finished second overall, but no rider was able to seal the team overall victory – until earlier this year, when Richie Porte produced a dominant performance across all terrain to at long last win BMC its home race.
The Australian might not have delivered as hoped for in the Grand Tours during his three years at the team, victory here was a substantial return for the faith shown in him.
5. Philippe Gilbert crowned world champion
OK, so technically Philippe Gilbert might have achieved this result in 2012 riding for the national Belgium squad and not in the colours of BMC, but having a world champion on your books is a glorious result for a trade team too.
It meant BMC got to enjoy the honour of having their name adorn the iconic rainbow jersey and exploit all the much-sort-after publicity that comes with that, even if Gilbert did only manage just the one win (at the Vuelta) that year.
BMC never really did the very best out of its expensive major star, at least compared with his excess success earlier at Lotto and subsequently at Quick-Step, but he nevertheless remained a great asset thanks to his headline-grabbing panache and glamour.
4. The 2015 Tour de France
Whether fighting for GC or chasing after stages, BMC were always a major player at Grand Tours, and, with one obvious exception (see below), the 2015 Tour de France was arguably their most successful.
Things got off to a perfect start when Rohan Dennis road the fastest time trial ever recorded at the Tour de France to claim the yellow jersey, and, though he conceded it the very next day after being caught up in crosswinds, their Tour continued to bear fruit through two more stage wins; stage nine’s team time trial, and a Greg Van Avermaet uphill sprint in Rodez.
Things would have been even better had Tejay van Garderen hung on to his podium place in the final week, but as a whole the 2015 Tour remains a showcase in BMC at their very best.
3. Team time trial world champions
One thing BMC will be remembered especially favourably for will be their mastery of the team time trial discipline.
There are few things if any that better express an image of team harmony than a whole squad of riders speeding along in single-file unison, and for much of its existence BMC were the best in the business.
Their first major triumph in the discipline came in 2014, when a six-man line-up featuring the likes of Rohan Dennis and Tejay van Garderen trounced the competition in Ponferrada to be crowned world champions. It was a result that set the template for much future success, including a defence of their title the following year and Tour de France stage wins in 2015 and 2018.
2. Greg Van Avermaet’s record breaking spring
For many years after signing for the team in 2011, Greg Van Avermaet raced under the shadows of his then-bigger name teammates such as Thor Hushovd and Philippe Gilbert. He was a reliable, consistent performer, but one who lacked that something extra to be the team’s foremost star.
That all changed for good during the sublime spring of 2017, when the Belgian was, for six glorious weeks, virtually unbeatable, achieving an unprecedented quadruple of Classics victories comprising of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Harelbeke, Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix.
The Paris-Roubaix victory, which Van Avermaet won in a five-man sprint, was the crowning achievement, and as BMC’s only ever Monument victory, is easily the most prestigious one-day race in the team’s trophy cabinet.
1. Cadel Evans wins the Tour de France
There’s no doubt about what is the greatest feat in the history of BMC – the 2011 Tour de France, when the team reached the pinnacle of the sport in just its first year at the elite level by winning the yellow jersey through Cadel Evans.
Looking back, what was so remarkable about the result was that it preceded the influx of cash and big spending that saw BMC become the major force we grew accustomed to. Evans had to rely on plucky performances from the likes of Steve Morabito and Amaël Moinard, as well as the more experienced head of George Hincapie.
Even though BMC failed to go on to win another Grand Tour in the following years, Evans’ heroics means that they will go down in the record books with the grand honour of being Tour de France champions, and is the result that will live longest in the memory.