CCC Team head to the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya on Monday with no clear contender for the overall classification. Instead, they'll rely on a number of riders to try to take stage wins at the seven-day Spanish race.
With no Greg Van Avermaet on the roster – who next races at the E3 BinckBank Classic on Friday – the team will be looking in the direction of their only other race winner this season, Patrick Bevin, who won the New Zealand national time trial title at the start of the year, ahead of taking a stage at the Tour Down Under.
A crash on the penultimate stage of the UAE Tour at the start of March has kept him out of competition for the past three weeks, but Bevin has been training hard, and said on the team's website that he's ready to race this week.
"I feel like my form is good, and I hope to target some of the sprinter-friendlier stages," Bevin said.
"It's never an easy feat at Catalunya, as the parcours is so hilly. It's the first race of a three-tour series for me, so I'm really looking forward to what is a busy spring ahead," he said, referring to his upcoming programme that also includes the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and the Tour de Romandie in April.
Teammate Joey Rosskopf hopes that, as a resident of Girona, his local knowledge of the Catalan roads will play to his advantage this week.
"Since moving to Girona a few years ago, competing in the Volta a Catalunya has been especially exciting for me," he said.
"It's one of the only times all year when I get to race on the same familiar roads where I regularly train. With the team we're bringing to Catalunya, I think we'll all have the chance to race aggressively and opportunistically.
"I was feeling pretty good on the bike at Tirreno-Adriatico, so as long as my legs hold up and continue to recover from the past week, I look forward to taking any chance I can – to jump in a breakaway and animate the race," he said.
Simon Geschke, meanwhile, is returning to racing after breaking his elbow in a crash at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia in February.
"I'm really looking forward to coming back to racing. It feels like a second start of the season for me, after having only one race day this year," said Geschke.
"I'm very happy that my recovery went well enough to make it back for Catalunya. I hope to be at a level which allows me to do good and valuable work for the team," he continued. "I don't expect to be in top shape right away, but the training in the last three weeks went well, and I'm definitely ready to race again.
"My goal is to take this race as an opportunity to get the race intensity into the legs and make the next step on my way to being at my best for the Ardennes Classics," he said.
Sports director Jackson Stewart reiterated the team's goals for the week, pointing to the two summit finishes on stage 3 and 4 as the principal difficulties.
"It's another difficult Volta a Catalunya – noticeably with the Vallter 2000 mountain top finish and then, the next day, the short and difficult stage up to La Molina Alp," Stewart said.
"We have a strong roster of opportunists, and we'll look at how each stage develops in our pursuit of a stage win. We'll go in without any pressure for the general classification and see where we end up."
CCC Team for the 2019 Volta a Catalunya: Patrick Bevin, Josef Cerny, Simon Geschke, Lukasz Owsian, Joey Rosskopf, Laurens Ten Dam, Riccardo Zoidl
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