Michael Sayers, the only American sports director at the top level of the sport, has announced his departure from BMC Racing at the end of 2012.
“This was a hard and painful decision for me because directing at the highest level of the sport with riders and staff of this quality was always a goal and a dream,” Sayers said in a release on Monday. “For six years, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of a lot of successes with the BMC Racing Team. But at the end of the day and after four incredible years as a director, what’s going to give me the most satisfaction is spending more time with my five-year-old son, Brody, and my wife, Nicole.”
Sayers joined BMC Racing as a veteran rider in 2007 and transitioned into the director’s seat following his 2008 retirement at the Tour of Missouri. He followed the then-Continental squad onto the WorldTour and has directed the team at events like the Tour of Austria and the Tour of Beijing.
He was awaiting a contract renewal offer from Jim Ochowicz and the management team at BMC Racing in August and this week announced that he would leave the squad.
Sayers is also the director of the men’s U.S. National Team. BMC Racing rider Taylor Phinney finished fourth twice at the Olympic Games and won a silver medal in the world championship time trial this season under Sayers. Sayers’ contract with USA Cycling is also up for renewal.
“In the future, I will be involved in cycling, but at this point – and in what capacity – I am not sure,” Sayers said.” I have helped to create successful environments in every phase of my professional life. I will strive to continue that trend going forward.”
Sayers lives in Sacramento, California.
Known for his openness and emotion, Sayers came under fire in August for comments he made following the USA Pro Challenge stage into Aspen. Sayers apologized the next morning for disparaging the RadioShack-Nissan squad by suggesting the team’s riders “forgot that the women’s race is later in the week.” A number of high-profile women spoke out in support of Sayers, including Jessica van Garderen, promoter of the Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge in Aspen [the women’s race to which Sayers was referring] and wife of Tejay van Garderen.
“I would like to thank Andy Rihs, Gavin Chilcott and Jim Ochowicz for all the opportunities they have given me,” Sayers said. “A special thanks goes to the directors, support staff and, primarily, the riders for all their hard work and dedication.”