Days after announcing that it was fielding a European professional mountain bike team, BMC Bicycles is now backing a U.S.-based development squad.
The Swiss bicycle company will be the title sponsor and primary backer of a team consisting of five American U23 racers. In addition to contesting all of the Pro XCT UCI events in the United States and North American World Cups, the team is planning to compete in various regional events, BMC officials said in a release.
On the men’s side Stephen Ettinger (Cashmere, Washington) will be the senior rider with a racing age of 22. Joining him will be second-year U23 riders Kerry Werner (Birdsboro, Pennsylvania) and Jack Hinkens (Eden Prairie, Wisconsin). All three were athletes on U.S. national team trips in Europe last. Chloe Forsman (Tucson, Arizona) and newly crowned collegiate national XC champion Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pennsylvania) will be anchoring the women’s side of the team.
“We want to develop a sustainable program,” said Frank Schreiner, BMC’s head of marketing. “Whoever rides/races on a BMC today should have the prospect, with the right performance, of becoming a professional with us and have the opportunity to step up to the BMC Mountain Bike Team in the next years.”
The team will also add a marketing boost to BMC’s renewed push toward increasing U.S. mountain bike sales, including its new Teamelite TE01 Carbon Hardtail and the Fourstroke FS01 carbon full-suspension bikes, company officials said.
“We are very excited about putting some of America’s best young racers on our mountain bikes,” said BMC CEO Mike Huerlimann. “I expect these riders to be the next generation of U.S. champions and it’s our intention to give them the tools they need to get to that next level.”
Team operations will be based out of Boulder, Colorado where Ben Turner will manage the young group of riders. Joining Turner on the road as team mechanic will be Damian Shanks.