With the off-season chess game of big-name players, the crumble of many squads like HTC, and the rise of the new “Super Teams” like Leopard-Nissan and BMC Racing, it is promising to see an international sponsor still taking an active role in the development process of the under-23 peloton.
Under the guidance of George and Rich Hincapie, the BMC-Hincapie Development team has simple goals, according to team director Thomas Craven, to “teach these young men how to be professional bike riders, promote the BMC and Hincapie brands, and to win races.” Craven gained his experience from years racing under Jim Ochowicz at 7-Eleven Pro Cycling, and is well positioned to help the squad learn to do both.
George and Rich Hincapie approached Craven at Interbike last year about running a development program under BMC Racing. The idea for the team came from Mark Holowesko. Holowesko had approached George Hincapie about becoming more involved with the Hincapie Development Team, which Holowesko sponsors. With this new squad, the entire BMC program shows a confident investment in the sport as BMC Racing enters its third season as a UCI WorldTour squad. The BMC-Hincapie team is launching at the same Pro Continental level as the WorldTour team did 5 years ago.
One of the standouts from the Hincapie development team is Alder Martz, who had several podium appearances, including a sprint win over Brad Huff (Jelly Belly) at the third day of the Gateway Cup in St. Louis. Another rider who has been in the BMC program is 22-year-old Larry Warbasse. Warbasse spent most of his time last year racing in Europe with the US National team, where he earned some notable results including a pair of seventh-place finishes in the Espoir Flèche du Sud and the Giro Toscana. Other powerhouses coming on board are transfers from Team Type 1 Development, Ty Magner and Tanner Putt. Magner has already notched the first GC victory for the new team at the Tour of the Bahamas.
Craven is not keen to place the riders into any specific roles just yet. He insists that his riders “still have time to figure out their strengths and weaknesses” going into the season.