Though not technically a merger or a takeover, this is the result of the old BMC Racing team being saved by the man behind the former CCC Sprandi Polkowice second-division outfit. By that point, late in 2018, more than half the old BMC roster had taken up offers elsewhere, and so they set out in 2019 as very much a work in progress. With a transfer window under their belts, investments have been made and expectations have been raised.
Manager: Jim Ochowicz
Squad size: 28
Average age: 28.3
How did they fare in 2019?
WorldTour ranking: 16
Launching the new-look team in December 2018, Ochowicz boldly announced a target of 20 victories from 2019. Despite getting a couple on the board in January, they ended the campaign with just six wins. As such, Ochowicz told us at the team presentation earlier this month: “We’re not putting a number on it again.”
It was a disappointing campaign all-round. Van Avermaet struck three times, one of them a biggie at the GP de Montreal, but despite a consistent string of placings at the Classics, he himself has said the team as a whole underperformed during the spring. He suggested as much in terms of the whole team and the whole season. With no GC rider and no top-tier sprinter, once the spring had passed without success, it was always going to be a tough campaign.
Greg Van Avermaet – The 34-year-old Belgian remains one of the leading Classics riders, barely outside the top places in the past couple of years, even if the wins have dried up since his glittering 2017 spring. While the burden is shared more widely this year, he remains the focal point of the team.
Matteo Trentin – The Italian’s arrival should help that victory tally head nearer the 20-mark. He is a formidable finisher from a reduced group and also has an increasing eye for a breakaway. Moreover, he adds firepower and versatility to the Classics group, offering a genuine shot at victory while leaving Van Avermaet less isolated physically and less restricted tactically.
Ilnur Zakarin – The glaring hole in the team last year was a GC rider, and in Zakarin they have a proven Grand Tour podium finisher. Early indications are that the Russian won’t be prioritising the overall titles in the three-week races, but he will certainly do so at the week-long races, while also offering a great shot at stage wins in the Grand Tours, having won at all three in the past.
The Classics was pretty much the only area CCC could target with any realistic prospect of success last year, and while they have broadened their horizons for 2020, it’s still where their greatest strengths lie. Van Avermaet’s pedigree is undoubted, and in Trentin they now have a second world class option. On paper, the combination – Van Avermaet the aggressor looking for a hard race, Trentin waiting in the wings to mop up from a group sprint – looks effective.
Sprinting is an issue. There's Jakub Mareczko, who ties in with the Polish sponsorship and has been touted as a talent for a number of years, but the 25-year-old was winless in 2019 and only finished on a podium three times.
The team was crying out for reinforcements and they’ve now strengthened the Classics department while adding a stage racing dimension. It’s still a shadow of the BMC days, however, and you sense this is still a work in progress.
- Jan Hirt (Astana)
- Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha-Alpecin)
- Kamil Małecki (Neo)
- Fausto Masnada (Androno Giocattoli)
- Michał Paluta (Neo)
- Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott)
- Attila Valter (Neo)
- Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin)
- Georg Zimmermann (Tirol-KTM)
- Will Barta
- Patrick Bevin
- Josef Černý
- Víctor de la Parte
- Alessandro De Marchi
- Simon Geschke
- Kamil Gradek
- Jonas Koch
- Jakub Mareczko
- Serge Pauwels
- Joey Rosskopf
- Szymon Sajnok
- Michael Schär
- Greg Van Avermaet
- Gijs Van Hoecke
- Nathan Van Hooydonck
- Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
- Francisco Ventoso
- Łukasz Wiśniowski
As Features Editor, Patrick is responsible for Cyclingnews' long-form and in-depth output. Patrick joined Cyclingnews in 2015 as a staff writer after a work experience stint that included making tea and being sent to the Tour de Langkawi. Prior to that, he studied French and Spanish at university and went on to train as a journalist. Rides his bike to work but more comfortable on a football pitch.
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