Graham Watson stelvio BMC
Photo ©BMC/Graham Watson

It’s been a rough week for team BMC. First, Taylor Phinney severely broke his leg after a nasty crash while descending Lookout Mountain at the USA Cycling professional road championships. Then, Cadel Evans fought through a “day of survival” during stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia. Even after the end of the brutal stage Evans remained upbeat, quoted as saying, “We have all worked very, very hard. I think we have seen in the last couple of days that anything and everything has happened in this Giro. And anything can still happen. That is what makes the Giro so dramatic.”

However, the president and general manager of the BMC Racing Team, Jim Ochowicz, wasn’t so happy about the conditions and has issued an official statement about the stage – which saw only 15 riders within 10 minutes of the stage winner’s time, while 122 of 160 riders finished a full half hour behind or more.

Statement after the break…

From BMC Racing Team:

Tuesday’s stage of the Giro d’Italia was a complete travesty, as teams were given an official communication at the top of Stelvio Pass that the race would be controlled for safety reasons on the downhill due to road safety and other factors.

All but two teams respected this official communication. The UCI and the race organization have a responsibility to see that the rules are respected. In addition to disrespecting the race instructions regarding race neutrality, several teams pre-determined that they alone would be allowed to have more than the designated two follow cars in the peloton, which showed complete disrespect for the other 20 teams in the race.

We take no position against the three riders that rode together to the finish. However, the UCI and race organizer RCS have a responsibility to maintain fair racing conditions, which we believe did not take place. We also believe that teams which disregarded the caravan follow car rules acted in an unsportsmanlike and totally unacceptable manner.


Jim Ochowicz
President/General Manager, BMC Racing Team


  1. This should read “my guy sucked today, and it’s your fault. Poor countries shouldn’t be represented here anyway.” @$$. I didn’t have a dog in this fight before, but now I definitely want BMC to lose more time. Hopefully Rigo can hold his time as well so there can be two Colombians on the podium.

  2. How is this any different from how this race has been conducted in the past? Giro can be counted on for such unpredictability. Anyone who is “incensed” by this clearly isn’t a long time follower.

  3. Jim,

    HTFU – The photos I saw showed that small group riding behind the moto with the red flag.. Just be grateful that they had 30 miles to soften the the climb – had that not been the case and NQ arived with fresh legs – the group would have lost a bigger chuck of time.

  4. Unfortunately for Cadel, he is not an attacker or aggressive . He keeps up and time trials well. Much like Levi lipheimer. He knows his limits. Not an explosive rider. TFB someone broke ranks and handed you a plate of poop sandwiches. Risk reaps rewards. In the post EPO era bad days are easy to come by.

  5. Also what did Jimmy O know about dopping in US teams? Probably about as much as Chris Carmicheal. Though no witch hunt was waged to discredit them.

  6. I agree…if this were the Tour de France…Hinault would be throwing punches right now at some team directors. I watched this tonight on TV and it was a stage for the ages. Not quite 1988 legends, but congrats to all of the riders…either those who attacked or those who just “survived”. It’s bike racing, not golf…;)

  7. I agree with the points of this letter. I think the giro organisation handled this situation poorly. It must be even harder to suspend a decent for safety reasons in the future after this.

  8. This stage was a bit of a farce. It wasn’t really a level playing field once a few people got a bit cheeky and the organization changed their mind. Very Italian though.

  9. Lots of differing opinions from different teams about the “neutralization” of the decent. My thoughts, maybe uran and evans should have been with NQ and Ryder when they started the decent, don’t they always talk about position. Also, it appeared to me that evans would have lost time anyway and uran wasn’t able to stay with the belkin rider either. Maybe the time losses wouldn’t have been as great, but it seems to me those complaining are the ones that didn’t like the conditions. No real reason they weren’t with NQ and Ryder

  10. There’s so much about road racing that just baffles me. So, if I’m to understand this correctly, there should have been a gentlemen’s agreement not to break out because the weather was poor?

    Isn’t part or racing on the roads, outside, you know, in the conditions an integral part of adapting to how things change in the race?

    Can somebody dumb this down one more level for me please?

  11. @Zap: No that’s not correct. There was an official statement via race radio (and twitter) that the decent off the Stelvio was “in effect” neutralized. Officially no attacks and only when the red flags on the race motos came down would racing resume. (The twitter feed stated neutralized, where race radio never used the word but the translation of intent is pretty clear).You can’t really blame the three racers at the front for racing but Och is correct (despite his past) as are all the other DS’s save Garmin and MovieStar who have stated the same. But John, Brian and JAH are right- typical Giro. Forzza Italia!

  12. @Yerma

    Thanks for the clarification. Every time I try to understand how road racing works, I’m faced with trying to comprehend all the drama associated with it. Maybe that’s what makes it such a compelling sport for so many racers and fans alike.

  13. Chaos at the Giro? Unthinkable. It doesn’t reflect well on the organization, but let’s also admit they have a harder time than anyone organizing a major stage race set squarely in the summer.

    As they say in NASCAR, rubbin’s racin’.

  14. Matthew, to even think that he didn’t know would be an insult to his heavy handed style of coaching. Remember the landis tdf doping? Jimmy was there. Lots of others. Then head of USA cycling…….what were we really thinking. Cleaning up the sport huh.

What do you think?