The CCC Team will debut in their first stage race this month at the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia, where Jakub Mareczko and two-time New Zealand time trial champion Paddy Bevin will take the reins of leadership.
“We have a lot of firsts coming into the opening races for our season in Adelaide," said team director Jackson Stewart, who added that the team will hunt stage wins while keeping an eye on the general classification. "We are a newly branded team, with some new staff and new riders, many of whom have not been to the Santos Tour Down Under before. But the objective is still to win. We will focus on each stage according to its challenges, and we will see how the general classification develops."
Mareczko, who joined the team this year after four years on Wilier Triestina, will look to excel in the sprint finishes, while Bevin hopes for a good result in the general classification.
"I think the route looks similar to previous years with some fast finishes and some difficult hills," Stewart said. "It should make for some hot, fast and dynamic racing.”
Bevin comes to the team from BMC Racing, where he competed last year after three years with Jonathan Vaughters' Cannondale team. On Friday, Bevin took his second consecutive New Zealand time trial title by nearly two minutes over the closest competitor, and he appears to be in top early season form heading into the Australian WorldTour opener.
“I am really excited to go back to the Santos Tour Down Under, which will be the first WorldTour race with CCC Team and on a course I love to race on," said the 27-year-old. "I think the updated route is great. It creates a better race overall that is going to go down to the very last meter of the last stage."
Bevin finished 10th overall at the race in 2016, moving up the general classification with a top 10 finish on the Willunga Hill stage, which came on the penultimate day that year. This year, the peloton will take on Willunga Hill twice in the final 25km of the last stage.
“I am hoping to get a good general classification result," Bevin said. "I snuck into the top 10 at my first Santos Tour Down Under, which had both the Corkscrew and Willunga climbs, so I am eager to return.”
Mareczko said he is excited to enter his first WorldTour race on a tier-one team.
"There are quite a few sprint opportunities, so I hope to do well, especially as it is at the WorldTour level," he said. "I have been working hard in the off season with my trainers, and now we will see how my form is at the race.
“There are some experienced riders in the team with me, and we worked together on the sprint train at our camp in December," Mareczko said. "Of course, in a race scenario it is different, but I am confident that we will work well together and they can lead me to where I need to be in the stage finales.”
The six-stage 2019 Tour Down Under begins Tuesday, January 15, in Adelaide and concludes Sunday, January 20, at the top of Willunga Hill. The men's racing actually starts Sunday, January 13, with the People's Choice Classic criterium in Adelaide
CCC Team for the Santos Tour Down Under: Patrick Bevin, Víctor de la Parte, Jakub Mareczko, Łukasz Owsian, Joey Rosskopf, Szymon Sajnok, Francisco Ventoso