Greg Van Avermaet, Matteo Trentin and Ilnur Zakarin will lead CCC Team at the rescheduled Tour de France, which is set to get underway in Nice on August 29. Jim Ochowicz’s team are seeking a sponsor to replace Polish shoe brand CCC, which is ending its commitment at the end of this season, a year earlier than planned.
Zakarin will combine the Tour with a tilt at the general classification at the Vuelta a España (October 20-November 8), while Van Avermaet and Trentin will tackle the delayed Classics in October.
"We currently have a long list of 14 riders for the Tour de France so we will finalize our selection after the early August races once we can gauge rider form after such a long break,” Ochowicz said in a statement released by the team on Tuesday.
"We will be lining up with three clear leaders in Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin for stage wins, and Ilnur Zakarin will provide an option for the general classification and climbing stages."
Van Avermaet will restart his season on August 1 when he lines out at Strade Bianche and he will remain in Italy to ride the Trittico Lombardo, Milano-Torino and Milan-San Remo. The Olympic champion will also compete at the Tour de Wallonie and Bretagne Classic before the Tour de France.
"I think these races will give me a good preparation before the Tour and help me to get to my top shape. It’s going to be strange to line up with not many races in the legs but at the end of the day, it’s the same for everyone," said Van Avermaet.
"After the Tour de France, I’ll be turning my attention back to the Classics, with Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix on my program. For me, it doesn’t matter what time of the year we race the Classics, I know I’ll be just as hungry to win in October."
Trentin will return to competition at the Vuelta a Burgos later this month as he builds towards Milan-San Remo, which is set to take place on August 8. After La Classicissima, he will turn his attention to hunting stages at the Tour before tackling the Classics alongside Van Avermaet.
"My focus in the first part of the season will be Milano-San Remo and the Tour de France and then the second block will be all about the Classics,"Trentin said. "But I think there will not be much of a moment to breathe. It will be full gas from start to finish and I’m really looking forward to that and getting together with the guys again."
Zakarin, a new arrival from Katusha during the off-season, has raced just once in CCC Team colours to date, at the UAE Tour in February. The Russian will ride the Tour de Pologne (August 5-9) in preparation for the Tour de France.
"With eight or so mountain stages, I think there are some good opportunities for me and as a team, we will have multiple cards to play in the different terrain," said Zakarin, who is set to extend his season into November by riding the Vuelta alongside Victor de la Parte.
"Then, if everything goes to plan, I will line up at the Vuelta a España which is, of course, a special race for me after my podium result in 2017. We have to be thankful to have every race day this year so I will take every day as an opportunity and hope to achieve some nice results for the team."
Alessandro De Marchi, Patrick Bevin and sprinter Jakub Mareczko will headline the CCC challenge at the Giro d’Italia (October 3-25), with De Marchi set to ride the Tour and Giro in quick succession. Bevin will also target the World Championships individual time trial, which clashes with the final day of the Tour de France on the compressed calendar.
"Patrick Bevin will line up at the Giro d’Italia this year with his eyes on the time trials, as well as the UCI World Championships time trial which will mean forgoing the Tour de France," Ochowicz said.
CCC Team are currently holding a training camp in Livigno, Italy, with 16 of their riders in attendance. The squad are still seeking a replacement sponsor for CCC after the Polish brand confirmed that it would withdraw at the end of this season, citing the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on its business. Team riders faced pay cuts during the hiatus from racing, while some staff members were let go by the team’s Continuum Sports management company.
After CCC confirmed their imminent withdrawal in early June, Ochowicz told reporters that he believed the team would find a new backer before the Tour de France.
"I get the feeling we'd probably get a sponsor before we get to the Tour de France. I just feel that the way it's going to go down," he said. "If I'm right or wrong, I don’t know but I feel that's how it will happen."