CCC Team's Patrick Bevin will not line up at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Sunday, and will instead use the time to recover from the injuries he sustained in a crash on the penultimate stage of the Tour Down Under last week.
Bevin was hoping to be able to start the 164km road race based around Geelong, Victoria, but, still suffering from the after-effects of the crash, which effectively lost him the race lead on the final stage to Willunga Hill last Sunday, the team will instead turn to their sprinter, Jakub Mareczko.
"We have made the decision to leave Patrick Bevin at home in order to recover properly from his injuries after crashing badly at the Tour Down Under last week," CCC sports director Jackson Stewart said in a team press release on Friday.
"This close to the race, we are unable to bring another rider in from Europe so we will line up with six riders on Sunday. Although we are a man down, we have six motivated and strong riders ready to race, all of whom showed great form in Adelaide."
Mareczko, who took third place on the opening stage of the Tour Down Under, could be well-suited to the course, which favours sprinters, but doesn't always come down to a massed bunch sprint.
"The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race presents a tough course but it usually comes down to a reduced sprint," said Stewart. "We have Jakub Mareczko and Szymon Sajnok for this scenario – two fast riders who can certainly be up there if they are on the right side of the move in the finale, as well as Victor de la Parte, Lukasz Owsian, Joey Rosskopf, and Francisco Ventoso, who are all quite suited to the rolling terrain and can try for a breakaway or solid attack in the finale. We will look to race aggressively and make the most of our last race in Australia."
Mareczko will hope to put his current form to good use on the course that goes through Australia's 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans' hometown of Barwon Heads and takes in the views along the Great Ocean Road before heading back into Geelong where the riders face the challenging Challambra Climb four times on the finishing circuits.
"I'm looking forward to racing on Sunday," Mareczko said. "The Race Melbourne criterium [on Thursday] was a good warm-up after a few recovery days, so I'm feeling good.
"It's a difficult course and the finale can be quite selective but we have a solid team for the race and showed that we worked well together at the Tour Down Under," he continued. "I was sprinting well there and am getting used to the heat now, so if I can be up there on the final laps in Geelong, then I will give it everything I have."
CCC Team for the 2019 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race: Victor de la Parte, Jakub Mareczko, Lukasz Owsian, Joey Rosskopf, Szymon Sajnok, Francisco Ventoso