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Lacking a Tour de France GC threat, CCC Team will hunt stage wins

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Greg van Avermaet and the CCC Team recon paris-Roubaix

Greg van Avermaet and the CCC Team recon paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lukasz Wisniowski leads the line for CCC Team at Tirreno-Adriatico

Lukasz Wisniowski leads the line for CCC Team at Tirreno-Adriatico
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Greg Van Avermaet of CCC Team attends a press conference ahead of the 74th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Greg Van Avermaet of CCC Team attends a press conference ahead of the 74th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Greg Van Avermaet and Jim Ochowicz address assembled media at the CCC Team press conference

Greg Van Avermaet and Jim Ochowicz address assembled media at the CCC Team press conference
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro De Marchi was third on stage 6 at Dauphine

Alessandro De Marchi was third on stage 6 at Dauphine
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Without a proper GC rider like his team's previous iteration, BMC Racing, Jim Ochowicz will send his CCC Team into their inaugural Tour de France with a roster of opportunists hoping to land a stage win for the first Polish-registered team to participate in the French Grand Tour.

Reigning Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet will lead the eight-rider roster, which will also feature fellow Belgian Serge Pauwels, Kiwi Patrick Bevin, Italian Alessandro De Marchi, German Simon Geschke, American Joey Rosskopf, Swiss Michael Schär and Polish rider Lukasz Wisniowski.

“We are lining up at the Tour de France with a fresh approach and new objectives," Ochowicz said in the team's roster announcement. "This may be the team’s 10th Tour de France, but it will be the first year in that time that we line up without a general classification contender, so this is new terrain for us."

Ochowicz said the team is highly motivated in their Tour de France debut and will race aggressively throughout the three weeks.

"We have to, and we will line up at every start with the belief that we can win that stage," he said. "It’s not easy to win a stage at the Tour de France, but we have riders who have won before, and the opportunity given to all eight riders to go for their own results gives them a level of freedom most have never had. We are excited to see what they can do.”

Van Avermaet has won two stages at the Tour and was the last Belgian to wear the yellow jersey when he took the race lead for eight days last year. Geschke won a Tour stage in 2015, and both Bevin and Schär have won team time trial stages at the Tour with BMC. De Marchi, a triple stage winner in the Vuelta a Espana, had a strong spring with seventh at Amstel Gold Race and solid rides in both Paris-Nice and Critérium du Dauphiné. Rosskopf and Wiśniowski will be making their Tour debuts.

CCC Team director Fabio Baldato echoed Ochowicz's aggressive attitude toward the race.

“Our Tour de France this year will be all about attacking, looking for good breakaways and working as a team to win a stage," he said. "We don’t have a pure sprinter, and we don’t have a pure climber; we have a team of opportunists, which means we have to look at every stage and see how we can win it."

Baldato said he believes the unpredictability of the 2019 Tour de France could work in his team’s favour, because there won't be one clear team responsible for controlling the race. Van Avermaet will lead the charge to take advantage.

“Of course, Greg Van Avermaet is the leader of our team, a title he deserves when you look at his palmarès and history at the race," Baldato said. "There are quite a few stages that are suited to Greg, and he will have the team’s full support on those days. Riders like Alessandro De Marchi, Simon Geschke, and Serge Pauwels are exactly the kind of riders who will be jumping in breakaways and have already proven they can win in these situations.

"Patrick Bevin has his sights set on the ITT, but he showed fantastic form at Tour de Suisse, so I think he is going to have a great Tour de France," Baldato said. "We saw last year in the stage 13 breakaway that Michael Schär can make the most of an opportunity when given the chance, so we can expect to see more of that. Joey Rosskopf and Łukasz Wiśniowski will make their debut, so they are in for a special Tour de France and have the freedom to go for their own results."

CCC Team for the Tour de France: Patrick Bevin (NZl), Alessandro De Marchi (Ita), Simon Geschke (Ger), Serge Pauwels (Bel), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Michael Schär (Swi), Greg Van Avermaet (Bel), Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol)