The Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team has revealed its full 2014 line-up. Corinne Abraham, Bart Aernouts, Liz Blatchford, Dirk Bockel, Will Clarke, Helle Frederiksen, Sofie Goos, Romain Guillaume, Ronnie Schildknecht and Axel Zeebroek will compete for Uplace-BMC, starting with this Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 South Africa. These 10 world-class long distance triathletes have already collected 39 Ironman titles, 75 Ironman podium finishes and 7 top-10 spots in the Ironman Hawaii. “Last year, we announced our ambition to become the most successful professional team in the sport. We have worked very hard to set up a professional structure and expert support, and most importantly, to attract the talent that makes this ambitious goal a realistic one,” said Team Manager Bob De Wolf.
In 2013, Uplace and BMC Switzerland announced their plans to set up an international triathlon team. Based on the success of the all-Belgian Uplace Pro Triathlon Team (12 Ironman wins and 19 Ironman top-three finishes in 2011-2013), the two companies believe that only the support and structure of a professional team can help triathletes reach and maintain a place among the sport’s elite. Uplace Chairman Bart Verhaeghe commented, “Triathlon is improving and professionalizing rapidly. There is only room at the top for those who can dedicate themselves exclusively to their sport and to continuous improvement.” BMC Switzerland has an extensive track record in team cycling with the BMC Racing Team and the BMC MTB Team. In triathlon, BMC Switzerland only sponsored individual athletes, until now. The move to a team approach is a significant one for BMC Switzerland. “Triathlon will become a team sport, it is only a question of time. We want to be at the forefront of that movement and lead it,” said Andy Rihs, chairman and co-owner of BMC Switzerland.
In December 2013, the Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team confirmed that Belgian athletes Bart Aernouts, Axel Zeebroek and Sofie Goos would make the transition from the Uplace team to the new international project. “We are proud that Uplace as a Belgian company can play a meaningful, trendsetting role in international triathlon. But we are even more pleased that Belgian talent will be an important part of this global project,” said Verhaeghe. Team manager Bob De Wolf emphasized that the three had earned their spot on the team on the Ironman course. “Bart, Axel and Sofie have worked hard and delivered outstanding results. That is why they are here today.”
Today, Corinne Abraham, Liz Blatchford, Dirk Bockel, Will Clarke, Helle Frederiksen, Romain Guillaume and Ronnie Schildknecht were finally able to reveal they are also part of the team. With almost 40 Ironman titles between them, this group of big names and high potentials is excited about racing as Uplace-BMC athletes. [Click here for their reactions]
To become the best in triathlon
The Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team is outspoken in its goal to become the most successful long distance triathlon team. Team manager Bob De Wolf is clear in his comments: “Our number one ambition is for all our athletes to qualify for and to be competitive in the World Championships Ironman in Hawaii and/or the World Championships Ironman 70.3. The ultimate goal is to win the Ironman Hawaii. Throughout the season, the team aims for victories in Ironman, Challenge and other key long distance races. We want to be the best team in the world and we want to measure this in results: we want to win.”
Structure & support
Uplace and BMC Switzerland have committed to the Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team for a minimum of two years with a clear intention to continue afterwards. Owner and name sponsor Uplace is responsible for the operational management of the team. Its five dedicated departments – operations, marketing, athletic, bike-technical and medical – provide the athletes and their coaches with coordinated professional support. Co-sponsor BMC Switzerland supplies the team bikes (the BMC TM01 is the team time trial bike), on-site race support, and research and development to optimize bike performance in races and in training.
A range of partners supports the Uplace-BMC athletes: Shimano/Pro bike components, Pearl Izumi race and training clothing, Lululemon casual clothing, Continental tubulars, Giro helmets, Tacx bike trainers and drink bottles, fi’zi:k saddles, Sailfish wetsuits, Compressport compression products, Sands Beach Active for warm weather training, BMW Le Couter, Adidas Eyewear, Bakala Academy sports-scientific support, Etixx sports nutrition, Best Swim Centre for an annual Mallorca training camp, Sportoase pool and gym facilities, and Assumax insurance.