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Uplace and BMC Switzerland announced the launch of their 2013 professional triathlon team, following the success of BMC’s professional road cycling and mountain biking teams. The Uplace BMC Triathlon Team will be an international extension of the all-Belgian Uplace Pro Triathlon Team and will bring together top male and female long-course professionals with a goal of maximizing their talent to achieve Ironman victories and podium spots at the Ironman World Championship in Kona.
This large-scale international project has been in the works since January, and its manager, Bob De Wolf, who’s also currently the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team manager, is setting the bar high for the team’s athletes. “We will settle for nothing less than victories and podium spots in the world championships half and full Ironman in Las Vegas [Mont-Trembland in 2014] and Hawaii,” he said in a press release. “We want to be the number one in the sport in terms of results, but also a trendsetter in professionalism, athlete development, branding and ultimately, return on investment for sponsors.”
The plan is for Uplace and BMC Switzerland to be equal partners in the team—Uplace will provide its expertise in running a professional tri team and take care of the day-to-day and operational management of the team. Meanwhile, BMC Switzerland, a well-established Swiss cycling brand, will provide bikes and the latest advances in BMC bike technology, as well as technical support to athletes. Team members will also be actively involve in BMC product development.
Before the end of 2013, the complete athlete line-up will be announced—the team is looking for established top names in the sport, both men and women, and is currently reaching out to prospective team members.
BMC Switzerland already has some involvement in triathlon: It currently sponsors individual pro triathletes—brothers Andreas and Michael Raelert of Germany, Ronnie Schildknecht and Sven Riederer of Switzerland and husband-and-wife Greg and Laura Bennett of the U.S. BMC is also the title sponsor of Ironman 70.3 Switzerland in Rapperswil-Jona and is currently the bike sponsor of the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team.
And with its previous success in individual sports road cycling and MTB, BMC sees the benefits of a team approach to the sport. “If we can provide our athletes with the kind of professional support we are used to offering in cycling, they are free to focus on improving and performing,” said Thomas Binggeli, CEO co-owner of BMC Switzerland in a press release.
The BMC Racing Team includes 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and 2012 UCI Road World Champion Philippe Gilbert. The BMC MTB Team includes four-time world champion Julien Absalon, reigning eliminator world champion Ralph Näf, and current European champion Moritz Milatz.
The Uplace BMC tri team will be racing on the BMC Time Machine TM01 time-trial bike—the bike that Evans won the 2011 Tour on and Andreas Raelert broke the iron-distance world record on.
Uplace’s current all-Belgian team includes an impressive line-up of pro triathletes: Bart Aernouts, Axel Zeebroek, Sofie Goos, Tine Deckers, Bert Jammaer and Bruno Clerbout. Uplace, a Belgian lifestyle real estate group, started the team in 2010 with the goal of recording top Belgian results in international triathlon within two years—a goal they met with 10 Ironman victories and 17 Ironman podium finishes. The team was also the largest pro team at the Ironman World Championship last year, with four athletes finishing in the top 16.
“The past three years have proven the success of our professional team approach,” said Uplace chairman Bart Verhaeghe in a press release. “As our all-Belgian project becomes an international one, we are excited to lift our approach to the next level, together with BMC Switzerland.”
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