Ochowicz expected to confirm merger with CCC team on Monday

Van Avermaet expected to lead team after Polish billionaire steps in

Jim Ochowicz is expected to confirm a merger with the CCC Sprandi team on Monday’s rest day at the Tour de France, with funding from the Polish shoe brand saving the BMC Racing team from the risk of closure.

Greg Van Avermaet is expected to now stay with Ochowicz in 2019 and lead the new-look team for the Classics. Richie Porte, Rohan Dennis and Tejay van Garderen have reportedly signed for other teams for 2019, with Porte moving to Trek Segafredo, Dennis to Bahrain-Merida and Van Garderen to EF Education First-Drapac.

Ochowicz refused to comment on reports of a merger with CCC earlier in the week but left the Tour de France on Friday only to return for Sunday’s cobbled stage to Roubaix with the Billionaire CEO of CCC Dariusz Milek and former Polish professional rider Piotr Wadecki. They posed for photographs with Van Avermaet before the start of the stage.

Michael Schär and Nathan Van Hooydonck are expected to stay with the new-look team, with several Polish riders and staff coming on board from the CCC Sprandi Professional Continental team. Giant has been rumoured to be the bike sponsor, with BMC closely linked to the Dimension Data team for 2019.

BMC has announced a press conference for Monday’s rest day but team leader Porte is not expected to attend after crashing out of the Tour de France.

Milek is reportedly the fourth wealthiest person in Poland thanks to his fast fashion shoe empire, with a personal wealth of over one billion Euros. He enjoyed a brief career as a professional rider but is now keen to develop his business by stepping up to WorldTour level.

CCC grew more than 30 per cent in 2017 and has close to 1,000 stores, with 450 in Poland and others in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Russia and Bulgaria and franchises in Romania, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. CCC plans to open a further 200 stores, including in the Middle East, with the target of selling 60 million pairs of shoes during the year.

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