A few people are questioning how well GC veterans Cadel Evans and Sammy Sanchez will get along in 2014, now the Spaniard has been snapped up by BMC? I’d have thought just fine thanks, given the soon-to-be 36-year-old Sanchez is probably just thankful to have a WorldTour team at all given he was still unemployed when the season started a fortnight ago in Adelaide.
For all his undeniable talent and smattering of outstanding results over the years, Sanchez is by and large a nearly man; even at his very prime supported by an entire squad at Euskaltel-Euskadi (admittedly, mostly mountain goats) he was never the complete rider Evans is. He knows it. Jim Ochowicz knows it. And so does Cadel.
Throw in the rest of the Galácticos at BMC including Van Garderen, Hushovd, Gilbert, Phinney and Hermans et al and he will surely be well aware there are many others to compete with for places in the BMC pecking order.
Of course, the season is long and with so many races on the calendar Sanchez is sure to get his chance. But when it comes to the really big GC races of 2014 – assuming he rides them at all – his job is almost certain to be that of super domestique in the mountains; firstly for Evans at the Giro and then Van Garderen in France. Maybe he’ll get a crack on home soil at the Vuelta if no-one else is interested.
From BMC’s perspective it’s a bloody smart move and Sanchez may just prove the bargain of the season. Given his belated signing, he won’t have cost them a lot. But what he does provide is a super solid Plan B should something happen to the team’s really big guns. Which is always a possibility.
That said, when it comes to signing un-contracted old blokes, I think Lampre-Merida got the better one.