Polish retail group CCC has stepped up to secure the future of UCI WorldTour cycling team BMC Racing.
CCC has taken on title sponsorship of the team through at least the 2019 season, although no further details of the deal have been disclosed, while Continuum Sports will continue as the team’s paying agent. Swiss bike manufacturer BMC is stepping away completely from the US-registered team, which has been openly seeking a new main sponsor for most of the season.
The exact title of the team will be determined shortly, but CCC is expected to serve as the sole title sponsor. CCC has been a sponsor at the UCI Professional Continental level since 2006 through its backing of the CCC Sprandi Polkowice outfit. Both Continuum and CCC have denied that the new deal will result in a merger of the two teams, but some staff and riders are expected to move up to the WorldTour outfit.
The announcement of the deal during the first rest day of the 2018 Tour de France also brought confirmation that current race leader and 2016 Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet would remain with the team under a new three-year contract.
CCC owner and president Dariusz Milek said: “I am excited to see CCC partner with Continuum Sports and reach the highest level of cycling. We have been looking for an opportunity to join the WorldTour and this was the perfect chance to partner with a well-established and respected team, with Greg Van Avermaet as team leader.”
BMC Racing general manager Jim Ochowicz added: “It is no secret that we have been looking for a new title sponsor for 2019 and we are excited to be here today at the biggest cycling race in the world to announce CCC as the title sponsor of Continuum Sports from 2019 onwards.”
Andy Rihs, who had owned and backed the team since its inception in 2007, died back in April, and the team were in desperate need of a new main sponsor as they were no longer able to count on his personal investment.
A number of riders, including perennial Grand Tour general classification challenger Richie Porte, have already agreed deals with other teams for next season.
BMC resume their Tour de France efforts on Tuesday with classics specialist Van Avermaet leading the overall standings but having lost yellow jersey contender Porte following a crash on Sunday’s stage nine.