BRUSSELS (VN) — Pro cycling is an endless stream of tasks, a series of data inputs and outputs, connecting mechanics, bikes, riders, and recon.
It’s Allan Peiper’s job at BMC Racing to connect all those dots and make sure everything that’s supposed to happen actually happens, and that when riders line up, they’re in the best possible position to succeed. Cycling is as much a resource game as it is time management, talent, and logistics.
Peiper is in his first year as BMC Racing’s performance director, a position created specifically for the former Garmin-Sharp director.
“I’m heading up the performance department in the sense that I’m looking after all aspects of the team that affect the riders. That’s from nutrition with our chefs and our nutritionists to developing our equipment to testing in the wind tunnel and on the track,” he told VeloNews.
Peiper is a former professional who raced from 1983 to 1992 and has operated in management roles since joining Davitamon-Lotto in 2005. He knows the sport inside and out, and BMC hopes he can help the team become more efficient, and more successful.
“In most teams, the logistics of the race program, the size of the team, the time needed to focus on important, defined aspects for a rider, for most teams the struggle is time and resources to be able to do that. And that exists in every team,” Peiper said. “At BMC, which is one of the major teams, the chance that someone can look into different departments more deeply, reset the structure of certain departments, make refinements of riders and mechanics is an important factor to making everything run better and flow better and hopefully that has a runoff effect that the riders have better results from.”
This is a results-driven sport, obviously, but Jim Ochowicz, BMC Racing’s manager, said it isn’t as easy as saying, “yes, this works,” or “no, it doesn’t.”
“It’s difficult to measure results yet,” Ochowicz said. “So we’re still in the learning curve with some of those projects, but we’ve taken on a new commitment to try to find better ways to let the athletes discover some new methods bumping up their health and performance … and I think we won’t be able to see the full extent of the efforts that Allan’s made until later this summer, probably at the Tour [de France], or maybe later at the world championships.”
Peiper is used to being close to the action, so this marks a departure from the actual driver’s seat for him. Before joining Garmin, he was one-fourth of the über-successful team of directors at High Road Sports, alongside Ralf Aldag, Brian Holm, and Valerio Piva. With his move into logistics, Peiper is filling a role similar to that of Aldag, Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s sport and development manager. He says he misses the old life a bit, but stays connected enough.
“Yes and no. I miss that life a little bit of being on the road with the team,” he said. “But I have a lot of contact with the riders now. It’s a different form of contact. I was in the car with Fabio [Baldato, BMC Racing director, at E3 Harelbeke]. He was driving and I was sitting next to him. It was a lot of fun. But I haven’t really missed it because I’ve been so busy. I’ve had the chance to learn a lot of new tools that you never get the time to do when you’re a director sportif because you’re so busy.”
BMC Racing didn’t get what it was looking for at the northern classics, but the season is young, and Ochowicz expects Peiper’s work to pay off later this season.
“It’s a long-term plan. It’s not short-term. With that, we’re experimenting, he’s experimenting,” Ochowicz said. “He’s given us a lot of new ideas about performance that we had only thought about before, but now they’re being integrated into he program. All good stuff.”