Giro-bound Bevin bolsters BMC Racing in Abu Dhabi

Giro-bound Bevin bolsters BMC Racing in Abu Dhabi

22/02/2018 at 20:00Updated 22/02/2018 at 23:23

New Zealand’s Patrick Bevin is back on track after move from Cannondale to BMC with his immediate sights set on Abu Dhabi Tour’s penultimate stage individual time trial …

Patrick Bevin is excited to be racing the Abu Dhabi Tour (UCI 2.UWT) with BMC this week. In fact, the 2016 New Zealand individual time trial champion is hoping to regain some of his previous form when the five-day WorldTour stage race hits the penultimate stage on Saturday.

After spending two years with Cannondale, the 2015 Australian National Road Series overall winner while riding for the Avanti Racing Team (now Bendigo-SwissWellness) moved on to BMC Racing. However, a pre-season training crash kept him out of the New Zealand Elite Nationals and off peak form until now.

“It’s my first time racing in the Middle East and I am looking forward to the few days ahead."

The move to BMC is a welcome change for the 27-year-old North Island native, who never really found his groove while at ‘Ride Argyle’ due to injuries, health issues and few opportunities.

Bevin did find success with a third-place finish in the Paris-Nice prologue during his neo-pro season, as well as three top six finishes at Tour de Suisse last year including a second-place on Stage 2. He also raced — and finished — his first Tour de France a month later, all of which caught the attention of BMC.

“You just grow every year,” explained Bevin, who spent five days in the top four of the Paris-Nice GC before being forced to withdraw on the seventh and final stage due to a crash suffered on Stage 5 that resulted in a fractured rib — but not before he gutted out a gruelling stage 6 summit finish to La Madone d’Utelle.

"Cycling is a mix of a thousand things that can go wrong and only one that can go right, so you are going to have a few lows no matter where you are. For me, it’s kind of just putting together a consistent season and using the good out of the last two and building on that."

For the former Tour de Korea stage winner and general classification runner up, building on the season is exactly what he has in mind with solid spring schedule and date for the Giro d’Italia in May.

“Through the early part of the season I’m looking toward the Giro, particularly the opening time trial and doing what I can for the team throughout another three-week race,” said Bevin. “Obviously I got around the Tour last year — my first GrandTour — so I’m looking forward to going back to the Giro with that in the legs, but before then I have a great race programme coming up with Catalunya and a couple of the Ardennes races.”

Bevin’s 2018 programme has however caused the former track rider to withdraw from consideration for the Commonwealth Games scheduled for Australia’s Gold Coast in April. It’s a scheduling conflict that leaves Bevin disappointed, but optimistic.

“It comes at a bad time for me with my programme through those couple of Ardennes races, and then the Giro just didn’t work,” he said. “I wasn’t going to put my hand up with a maybe and then pull out last minute. I don’t think that’s fair on anyone.

“I had to scrub my name early,” Bevin continued. “It’s always disappointing when you turn down an opportunity to represent your country. I know a lot of European guys probably don’t understand how important the Commonwealth Games are to the countries in the Commonwealth, so it’s disappointing to miss it, but I trade it off with five or six other big races during that period.”

With the 12.6-kilometre individual time trial looming on Al Maryah Island in three days, Bevin is keen to gauge his form.

“I really want to give that time trial a nudge,” he admitted. “I’ve had a bit of a false start to the season with a crash before nationals, so I haven’t been out on the time trial bike.

"I did a lot of work in the off-season on that — it was a big part of coming to this team with a big focus on the time trial. For me personally it’s a goal to put down a good ride and see where I’m at. I haven’t done one yet, most guys haven’t, so we’ll see where the cards fall and obviously we are looking after Rohan [Dennis] for the overall with the climb the next day."

“Looking at the results on the last few time trials through last season, if you are going to win the race, the hardest thing will be to overcome the ‘BMC Cup’,” stated Bevin. “This team has some amazing time trialists. They do put in the work and it’s not surprising to see the result sheet stacked with BMC names.”