Sanchez in Orange, pre red and black. Photo twisted spoke
We’re wondering just what the Hell happened to Sammy Sanchez at BMC?
After he spent many months last year scrambling for a team (a la Chris Horner) he finally inked a one year deal with BMC. Based on some results and Sammy’s high degree of happiness there and what we assumed was a positive review of his efforts by the team, we assumed the 36 year old was good for another one year contract.
Apparently not. BMC and well-respected team manager Allan Peiper declined to bring him back. That’s one surprise. The second surprise feels more like a marketing fabrication. His spokesman Georges Luchinger is floating the story that it was the Spaniard’s decision to leave BMC.
This strains credulity because the quotes coming from Sammy mid-year were that the set-up and support at BMC were so fantastic that he wished he’d been there years before when he was at the top of his grand tour game. He lamented those wasted years at Euskatel when he finally stepped up to a well-funded squad with mucho resources.
So we’re having a hard time buying the statement of his spokesman: “Samuel decided to not stay and we respect this.’ This reeks of bogus and an attempt to make Sanchez look better on the market — one that’s extremely tight on roster spots and euros. Not a smart move, Sammy!
According to Sammy, the 2008 Olympic road race champion, things were just fine and dandy in red and black. “In BMC they are pleased with me and I with them. I’ve adapted very well and I have made new friends, which is always important,” he told Ciclo21.com. Not dandy enough to stay? Not fab enough to avoid a horrible job market and the distinct possibility of being forced to retire?
Sammy is playing the confident, what-me-worry? game but it’s not too convincing. “I’m rested, relaxed and without worry about next year. It is nothing like the situation in the past when the Euskaltel-Euskadi team disappeared and it was very hard.” Okay, so what — things are easier this time around because financial conditions are better at those WorldTour teams. Uh, no.
When BMC’s Allan Peiper came in last year and shocked the team back to life, he made it clear to the riders that they better start delivering the goods or they were gone — no matter how big the star power. His exact phrase was, “this is important, making them aware that if you don’t step up you step out.”
Did Sammy really not step up? If memory serves, he rode strongly for Cadel Evans in the Giro, helped Philippe Gilbert win Amstel Gold and the Tour of Beijing and rode high up on GC in the Vuelta a Espana, taking 7th place. Do those efforts not qualify as stepping up? We’re a little mystified by that.
We always got a kick out a Sammy, he’s a simple guy who loves to climb mountains and he’s delivered some thrills in the Tour de France. We hope he gets another shot but we’d sure like to know what exactly happened at BMC. Because if it really was his decision to leave, then that qualifies as stupidity.