Will Barta has signed for CCC for the 2019 season. The American has spent the past four years at Continental and Pro Continental level with Hagens Berman Axeon and now makes the step up to the WorldTour with the revamped BMC squad.
"I've always been a big fan of BMC Racing Team. I started getting into cycling around the time Cadel Evans won the Tour de France in 2011 and to see how the whole team fought was really cool, so ever since then I have been a big fan. It's a dream come true to join the team," Barta said in a statement on Monday.
Barta, 22, has caught the eye in the Ardennes in recent years, placing fourth at the under-23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège last season and taking third overall at this year’s Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux stage race. He was performing solidly at the Baby Giro in June only to be forced out by a crash that left him with a broken femur.
"The races I look forward to most are the Ardennes classics," Barta said. "I really enjoyed that type of racing at the U23 level and in the last few years I have become a better climber. I've really worked hard on the longer climbs so I'm looking forward to seeing how I can do in stage races as well.
"Time trialling is also something I like and have done quite well at. I like the aspect of it being just you out there and you can see from the team's results that time trials are a big focus so that's definitely attractive for me, to be able to learn from the best. To have the opportunity to learn from a champion like Greg Van Avermaet and the older guys in the team will be amazing and I can't wait."
Polish retail company CCC, currently sponsor of a Pro Continental squad, stepped in to take over sponsorship of Jim Ochowicz’s team for 2019 following BMC’s decision to withdraw its backing at the end of the current season.
Classics leader Greg Van Avermaet has confirmed that he will continue with the reconfigured team in 2019, but Grand Tour riders Richie Porte, Tejay van Garderen and Rohan Dennis have all confirmed their departures in recent weeks. Barta is the first neo-professional to sign with CCC for 2019.
"We are very pleased to announce Will Barta as the latest rider to join Continuum Sports in 2019. Over the years we have welcomed many young riders in their neo-pro years and Will certainly represents the next generation of American cycling talent," Ochowicz said.
"One of Will's breakthrough results during his time with Hagens Berman Axeon was fourth overall at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2017 and with our focus on the classics, Will caught our attention."
Barta has some WorldTour experience, having raced at the Tour of California this season and in 2016. The Boise native placed 23rd overall in 2018, and caught the eye two years ago with his aggression in the break on stage 2.
"Will has also proved his strength in time trials with second place at the U23 national time trial in 2017, and second place in the Le Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux time trial this year which was enough to see him finish in third on the general classification," Ochowicz said. "We are looking forward to seeing Will continue to develop with us and learn from some of the most experienced riders in the peloton."
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