The wait is over. After months of speculation, rumour and sleepless nights, Continuum Sports, the holding company behind BMC Racing Team, have announced that their squad will race as CCC Team from January 2019.
It was announced earlier in the year that BMC would end their relationship with the WorldTour team at the end of the current year and, after a frantic, last-minute deal, Continuum Sports secured their WorldTour future thanks to funds from Polish company, CCC. The brand currently backs a Polish Pro Continental team.
"After announcing CCC as the new title sponsor of Continuum Sports in July, we are pleased to confirm that the team will be known as CCC Team from 2019 and become the first Polish UCI WorldTour team," General Manager Jim Ochowicz said in a team press release issued on Thursday.
"In conjunction with Dariusz Milek, President of CCC, we decided to adopt a short team name that will reinforce the CCC brand as the team's identity. Whilst we are always searching for additional sponsors, CCC will be the sole title sponsor of the team."
"As has been announced in recent weeks, CCC will be expanding their sponsorship in cycling to include a women's team, becoming title sponsor of WaowDeals Pro Cycling, and their current Professional Continental team, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, will continue as a Continental development team. Although the teams will operate as three separate entities, CCC will become a prominent fixture as a title sponsor in the different tiers of professional cycling and we look forward to doing our part to promote the CCC brand in the men's WorldTour with CCC Team."
The team will be based around Olympic road race champion Greg Van Avermaet, who penned a contract with the team during the summer. There have been a raft of departures, with Richie Porte, Tejay van Garderen, Stefan Kung and new World time trial champion, Rohan Dennis, all heading for the exit door.
Although the 2019 team lack a genuine GC contender for the Grand Tours, Ochowicz has used his experience in the market to sign a number of riders. Laurens ten Dam, Michael Schar, Serge Pauwels, Simon Gescke add stability, while Alessandro De Marchi adds a certain degree of flair and will take the pressure off the Classics squad when it comes to breakaways in stage races. Patrick Bevin came close to joining Mitchelton Scott but has decided to stay with CCC, with several other riders brought in to help Van Avermaet in the Classics.
There have been several changes in management, too, most notably with Allan Peiper announcing last week that he would be leaving the organisation. Robert Krajewski from CCC Sprandri Polkowice has joined, while Gavin Chilcott remains from the BMC Racing side. Also joining from the Polish Pro Continental team are sports directors Piotr Wadecki and Gabriele Missaglia.
Current BMC sports directors Fabio Baldato, Valerio Piva and Jackson Stewart will remain at CCC in 2019, together with Head of Performance Marco Pinotti.
"Planning for the 2019 season is well underway so there is no better time to confirm our sports director team. The rider roster and race program are taking great shape so we are approaching the coming season with a great sense of excitement and motivation to hit the ground running in January. All five of our sport directors have many years of experience in cycling and have been instrumental in some of the teams' biggest wins," Ochowicz said.
"As planning continues we will have further announcements to make with new technical sponsors joining us from 2019 and more riders to add to the already-confirmed list of 20 riders."