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Mareczko searching for first win of the season at Almeria

Italian sprinter Jakub Mareczko (CCC Team) is hoping to be able to convert his good early-season form from the Tour Down Under into a win at the Clásica de Almería this weekend.

Mareczko finished third behind Deceuninck-QuickStep's Elia Viviani and Max Walscheid (Sunweb) on stage 1 of the Australian stage race to Port Adelaide, and went on to compete at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race before returning to Europe.

"I'm feeling in good shape after the Australian season, and was happy to pick up third place at my first UCI WorldTour race of the year," Mareczko said on his CCC Team's website.

"The Clásica de Almería is another opportunity for me to go for the sprint. It's still early in the season, so there's more work to do in order to be where I want to be, but I think my form is good.

"I'm really happy that the team is giving me the opportunity to have a go here, and I'll definitely give it 100 per cent to try to get a good result," said Mareczko, who took seven wins in 2018 while riding for Pro Continental team Wilier Triestina before making the step up to the WorldTour with CCC Team for 2019.

Mareczko is the only rider on CCC's two squads that race at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia and the Clásica de Almería this weekend to have already got his season under way. His teammates are starting their year at the two-day Spanish stage race, which starts on Friday – and which Mareczko won't race – and at the one-day race on Sunday, where the 24-year-old can expect strong support.

"CCC Team will be well-represented at both races this weekend," said sports director Gabriele Missaglia. "For all of the riders, with the exception of Jakub, this will be the first time they'll race this year, and, for that reason, we won't have a clear team leader for the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia.

"Instead, we'll take each day as it comes and use the race as an important test to see where the riders' form is ahead of the Clásica de Almería, which we will go to with Mareczko as our leader for the likely bunch sprint.

"However, I'm confident in the ability of the riders we have racing in Murcia, and I think we can look to make the most of any opportunities that come our way. Then, with the team working for Mareczko, we'll have a really good chance to get a nice result in Almería," said Missaglia.

CCC Team for the 2019 Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia (February 15-16): Will Barta, Paweł Bernas, Simon Geschke, Jonas Koch, Serge Pauwels, Laurens ten Dam, Riccardo Zoidl

CCC Team for the 2019 Clásica de Almería (February 17): Paweł Bernas, Josef Černý, Simon Geschke, Jonas Koch, Jakub Mareczko, Serge Pauwels, Laurens ten Dam

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