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BMC Racing Team Set to Target Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Team Time Trial
27 January 2018 Santa Rosa, California (USA)
Greg Van Avermaet will return to the start line of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana as BMC Racing Team's road captain, while Brent Bookwalter and Kilian Frankiny represent the team's General Classification aspirations.
The team lines up at the five-day race with multiple objectives, including the team time trial on stage three, Sports Director Valerio Piva said.
"We have a tradition in this team to target the team time trial so that is one of our objectives at the race and like last year, we want to win. It's the third stage and it's a technical parcours. We also want to win an individual stage and for this we have Greg Van Avermaet, who is our road captain, as well as Jürgen Roelandts for a sprint finish. There is a short, uphill finish which will make the selection for the General Classification so we will have Brent Bookwalter and Kilian Frankiny as our protected riders, as both are in good shape and can climb well," Piva explained.
Van Avermaet will open the season with Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana to test his early season form, as he did in 2017.
"I'm feeling pretty good and I'm happy with my winter. We have trained hard in Spain before the race so I'm happy to finally put my training efforts to the test in the race. Everybody always looks forward to the first race of the season. We are motivated again for the team time trial, which we won last year, as it's a nice way to start the season. The parcours is a little different from last year but I think we are one of the favorites there. Personally, I just want to have a good feeling in the race, and not necessarily go for a big result. My bigger goals are later in the season so sometimes the best thing you can take out of a race is a good feeling on a climb or something else like that, and I hope to finish Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana with this feeling," Van Avermaet said.
The long road back
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is not only Bookwalter and Frankiny's first race of the season, but also their first race since suffering nasty crashes at the Tour of Britain and Vuelta a Espana respectively.
Bookwalter is looking to gain confidence from his first race back before embarking on the rest of the season.
"I'm ready to start the season. It's been a long off season for me as I stopped the season pretty early last year with my concussion at the Tour of Britain, which was a forced, early off season. The recovery was much longer than I had hoped and planned for so it was a new challenge in the off season. I feel like I'm back to a good level and can start racing. I've never done Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana before so I'm always excited to do a new race, especially after 11 years with the team. It fits well with our training camps as we ride these roads in Valencia every year," Bookwalter explained.
"My biggest objective is to improve my condition and my confidence going into the rest of the season. Coming off my first time dealing with a head injury, my confidence definitely took a hit. To get back into my first race and get through it safely is important. We are defending our team time trial win from last year so that's definitely a focus for us. We'll see how the General Classification goes. Kilian Frankiny looks to be climbing the best out of anyone in our group right now so whether it's helping him out or my form allows me to go for it, we'll see how it goes."
Frankiny is excited to return to the start line after his long off season.
"I'm very motivated as I had a long off season after my crash in the Vuelta a Espana. This is the first race in five months so I'm happy to be at the start line and I'm well prepared having done a lot of good training at home and at our training camps. Stage 2 will be pretty hard. The last climb we know from stage 6 of the Vuelta a Espana and it's a very steep climb. We will see how many guys make the selection and I hope I can be in the front group. Then of course, the team time trial is a big objective for the whole team as everyone knows that BMC Racing Team is really good in the discipline," Frankiny said.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (31 Jan - 4 Feb)
Rider roster: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Stefan Küng (SUI), Jürgen Roelandts (BEL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
Sports Director: Valerio Piva (ITA), Jackson Stewart (USA)