Van Avermaet begins Classics preparation at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana

Belgian to make debut in new team colours at Spanish race

Greg Van Avermaet will make his debut in the new colours of CCC Team at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana next week, the team have confirmed. Van Avermaet will be joined by new teammates Guillaume van Keirsbulck and Lukasz Wisniowski at the Spanish race, which takes place between February 6 and 10.

Van Avermaet has used the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana as his season opener for the past two seasons, winning the team time trial on both occasions with BMC Racing Team. The team will look very different from the one that has turned up in previous years, and not just because of their new orange kits.

The departure of BMC as primary sponsor and bike supplier resulted in some major changes in their roster. The team no longer have a major general classification rider and have been built around Van Avermaet's Classics ambitions. For Van Avermaet, Valencia is an opportunity to get to know the Classics team better before the spring.

"This race is a great way to kick off the season. It’s close to where we have our training camps and this last one leads perfectly into the race," said Van Avermaet. "This year there will be a lot of firsts for me here and that’s exciting. It will be the first time racing as CCC Team, the first time I race on my new Giant bike and in my Etxeondo clothing and, finally, it will be the first time I race with some of my new teammates.

"There are some riders in this group who will play a part in my Classics campaign and, as we are new to one another, it will be good to see how everyone reacts when we move from training together to racing together. I think it is important to have the confidence of all of the riders going into a race and before the Classics start it will be good to learn more about each other. This will be the perfect exercise for us all."

Amaro Antunes and Gijs Van Hoecke are two other new signings that will be showing off their new colours for the first time, while Alessandro De Marchi and Michael Schar complete the line-up. Van Avermaet is muted in his ambitions, saying that his primary goal is to build his form, though he says a stage win is also a target.

"Of course, this race isn’t one of my biggest goals of the year, but I want to get my season off to a good start just like we saw the guys do in Australia," he said. "We will take the race day-by-day, but the ambition is always to try to win races and that won’t be different here. My main goal is to keep building my shape and I think stages 3 and 4 will be super hard so that will be the first big test for us and hopefully I can be up there on one day."

BMC Racing for Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana: Amaro Antunes, Alessandro De Marchi, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet, Gijs Van Hoecke, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Łukasz Wiśniowski.

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