The inner voice is a battle. At its best that voice is driven, confident, empowered and audacious, it drives me towards my goals and down a committed path. At its worst it causes me to question if I’m good enough, or whether what I’m doing is actually worth it. That voice can go entirely against things that I am absolutely sure I am capable of, and even who I am as an athlete or a person. It asks me why I am doing this. I’ve learned that while things don’t always make sense, I need to remain committed and see it through. Sometimes it means continuing on with blind faith.
This Vuelta is the last Grand Tour in which we will see the distinctive red and black of the BMC Racing Team. Over 11 years the American team, backed by Swiss billionaire Andy Rihs, helped change the sport, paying big salaries, winning the Tour de France with Cadel Evans, and becoming masters of the art of team time trialling. Rihs died this year and BMC will be taken over by CCC — but it will be a very different team.
Brent Bookwalter is best known as a stalwart athlete for the UCI WorldTour team BMC Racing, as he has stayed with BMC since his start in pro cycling in 2008. Few athletes have had the organizational continuity that Bookwalter has enjoyed during his pro career. However, that doesn’t mean that he’s stayed complacent during his time; anything but. His experience in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Tour de France, and a myriad of World Championships prove his mettle as an athlete at the highest level.
It wasn’t until after months of recovery, during his first pro ride in Utah in 2008 and his first year with BMC Racing Team, that Bookwalter felt truly back on track.
“I always enjoy and appreciate when the Tour of Utah has a prologue or a non-uphill time trial,” said American Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing Team, who tallied a stage win in 2017 and a Utah Sports Commission Sprint classification jersey in 2015. “By adding in a prologue, it balances out the race a bit and forces the climbers to be in their best form in the race against the clock.”
He was still in shock from the compound fracture to his left tibia, but Brent Bookwalter can remember the emergency surgery he received in Belgium that day.
Well, he thinks it was Belgium; some aspects of the events remain hazy. Physicians gave him a nerve block for his lower half, allowing him to remain awake for the operation.
The race also marks the return of Brent Bookwalter and Kilian Frankiny, both of whom were injured late last season. Bookwalter suffered a head injury in a crash at the Tour of Britain and had to renounce his place in the USA team for Worlds. It was his first experience with a concussion, he said, and his recovery took a bit longer than expected.
You can read the full story with Brent here: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/bookwalter-de-marchi-wyss-and-schar-sign-contract-extensions-with-bmc-racing/
BMC Racing have announced that four riders have signed contract extensions for the coming season with Brent Bookwalter, Alessandro De Marchi, Michael Schär and Danilo Wyss all putting pen to paper. The team confirmed earlier this month that Richie Porte had signed a new deal with the team.
While the squad have always been unwilling to divulge the length or terms of rider contracts, Cyclingnews understands that all deals signed in 2017 cover only the 2018 season.
"In Brent Bookwalter and Danilo Wyss, we have 20 years of combined experience at BMC Racing Team," Jim Ochowicz said in a statement from the team.
“Both riders have signed on for their eleventh year with the team and I think that speaks for itself. Brent consistently proves himself in both a leader and support capacity and Danilo is a rider that is always there to support our leaders but will make the most of an opportunity when it comes his way. To have riders with this level of racing experience in the team is invaluable and I look forward to seeing Brent and Danilo continue to develop with us," Ochowicz explained.
"Michael Schär is a clear road captain within BMC Racing Team. No matter what the race situation is, we trust in Michael's ability to support the team leaders, whether it is at the Classics or a stage race, so we are very happy to see Michael extend his contract. In his three years with BMC Racing Team, Alessandro De Marchi has delivered some excellent results, including Grand Tour stage wins, as well as being a key support rider for our Grand Tour leaders, so Alessandro is a great asset to our team."
Bookwalter joined the team in 2008, when they were ranked with the Pro Continental division of the sport. He, like Wyss, has been a constant presence throughout the team's WorldTour years and has developed into one of the most solid domestiques in the peloton. The American finished fourth in this year's Tour of California.
"When I reflect back on the past 10 years and ahead to 2018, the people who make up the BMC Racing Team are what made it an easy decision to return for my 11th season. I've relished the chances to grow out of a pure worker roll and have the opportunity to also race for personal results, leading the team when the opportunity arises," Bookwalter said.
“I know I have greater potential when it comes to this role within the team and am confident I have more to give. I've put myself in the position to win on several occasions this season, so I am motivated to translate these opportunities into victories for myself and the team."
On Monday BMC Racing confirmed that they would wind down their U23 programme at the conclusion of this season.