The CCC Team will support sprinter Jakub Mareczko in the Paris-Nice bunch finishes over the first three stages and then turn to Amaro Antunes and Víctor de la Parte for general classification results in the eight-day WorldTour race that starts Sunday in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
"Our first objective at Paris-Nice will be to target stage wins, and on the opening three days, which will likely end in a bunch sprint, Jakub Mareczko will be our leader," said team director Piotr Wadecki. "Around him, we will have a strong and experienced group of riders who can not only help get him in the right position, but who can also take any opportunities to go in breakaways and fight for their own success over the rest of the race.
Along with Mareczko, Antunes and De la Parte, the team will also field Will Barta, Alessandro De Marchi, Laurens Ten Dam and Francisco Ventoso.
"For the key summit finish, Amaro Antunes and Víctor de la Parte will be our protected riders," Wadecki said. "Both of them have shown strong form recently, and I think they can be contenders for that stage. The pair can also time trial well, so we will look at how the general classification stands after stage 5 and plan our tactics around that. Of course, our first goal is to win a stage, but after that, I think we could look to go for a top 10 finish on the general classification."
Mareczko, the 24-year-old Italian who came to the team from Wilier Triestina, has earned several top 10 finishes in his first season on the WorldTour with CCC Team, but he has yet to crack the podium's top step.
With three, or perhaps even four, stages that offer the prospect of a bunch sprint, the Paris-Nice start list includes an imposing slate of sprinters, including Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).
"The first three days are, of course, the ones that suit me the most," Mareczko said. "I had a couple of nice top 10 results at the UAE Tour, but I definitely wanted more so I am really motivated for Paris-Nice. I think you can learn something from every bunch sprint, so this race will be another opportunity to test myself and to go for that elusive WorldTour stage win."
Antunes, the 28-year-old Portuguese rider from the CCC Sprandi Polkowice team, had a solid ride in Algarve with fifth on the second stage to Fóia and eighth overall.
"I was happy with my performance at Volta ao Algarve, and I am confident with where my form is at the moment," Antunes said. "I feel good and I hope to be able to improve further at this race. I'm really motivated for Paris-Nice, and my main goal is to try to be in contention for a stage win. This will be my first UCI WorldTour race of the year and my first [UCI WorldTour race] with CCC Team so, I am interested to see how I will perform at this level of racing."
Spaniard De La Parte came to CCC Team from two years at Movistar. He finished 14th at the recent UAE Tour won by Primož Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
"I felt strong at the UAE Tour and I was really motivated, so it was disappointing to miss out on a top 10 finish after the crash on the stage to Jebel Jais," the 32-year-old said. "I was happy with my performance there, though, and I feel like I'm going into Paris-Nice with good form. It is a tough race, but I think we have a strong team, and with each rider able to take their own individual motivation to the start line every day I am confident that we will have a good week."
CCC Team for Paris-Nice: Amaro Antunes, Will Barta, Alessandro De Marchi, Víctor de la Parte, Jakub Mareczko, Laurens Ten Dam, Francisco Ventoso
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