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Rider from Santa Rosa team wins Tour de France

The bike racing team that helped Cadel Evans win the Tour de France is headquartered in an unassuming Santa Rosa industrial park, with a koi supplier, fireplace company and car repair firm as its neighbors.

It's a tight-knit group of businesses at the end of a cul de sac where they know and watch out for each other.

And they were all rooting for BMC Racing as it pulled off one of cycling's greatest feats on Sunday, winning what is arguably the most famous bicycle race in the world.

"It is the pinnacle of all bicycling events, that's for sure," said William Wallahan, co-owner of Nisstech Automotive, who was wearing a BMC Racing hat on Monday. "It is the World Series, it's the Super Bowl of cycling events."

The day after BMC Racing's Cadel Evans rode up the Champs Elysees in Paris in the coveted yellow jersey awarded to the overall leader, team founder Gavin Chilcott was circumspect.

"It is obviously a very proud day for the whole team, not something we thought we could have achieved at this time, and impossible to say that we will be back in the yellow jersey in Paris again," said Chilcott, 49, who was at BMC Racing's Belgium office on Monday.

"It doesn't come as a shocker. It was not a surprise upset. Preparations were good, the plan was good and the riders were good and it worked," Chilcott said.

BMC Racing was founded in 2006 by Chilcott, a Santa Rosa native and former professional bike racer, with Swiss bicycle manufacturer BMC as its chief sponsor. Today, Chilcott serves as the team's co-owner and chief operating officer.

"He is just amazing," said Chilcott's father, Dr. Scott Chilcott. "How can you imagine this would take place? Anybody who five years ago told him your team would probably win the Tour de France, he would have been laughed out of the county."

Gavin Chilcott said it is not a rags-to-riches story, but rather the result of years of growing a team through the amateur and semi-professional ranks until it reaches the ultimate professional stage.


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