CCC Team general manager Jim Ochowicz said his team will look to bolster its Classics roster for next year in order to better support star rider Greg Van Avermaet, who netted just two Classics podium finishes this year after having previously won Paris-Roubaix, Gent-Wevelgem, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the E3 Harelbeke.
"We didn't have the head count to fight the battle with other teams that had a little more ammunition than us," Ochowicz told Cyclingnews on Sunday in Sacramento after the finish of stage 1 of the Tour of California.
"A one-rider shot at the Classics is a little tough. You can see it with other teams, too, that have the same thing we've got to fight with. But we still get our piece of the cake every once in awhile, and our plan is to really build up a little bit more for 2020, and probably lighten that load a little bit for Greg and some others in that situation."
Van Avermaet managed second at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – a race he won in 2017 and 2016 – and he was third at the E3 BinckBank Classic, but the 2016 Olympic road race champion wasn't able to add another line to his already-impressive Classics palmares for the second consecutive year.
Ochowicz's CCC Team, which rose from the ashes of the former CCC Sprandi Polkowice Pro Continental team and the former BMC Racing WorldTour team, has notched four wins so far this season, with Van Avermaet taking wins at the Volta a Valencia and the Tour de Yorkshire, and Paddy Bevin winning the New Zealand time trial title and stage 2 of the Tour Down Under.
It's a bit of a slower win pace than Ochowicz was used to at BMC, but he said that things have been going well for his new project.
"We haven't had any big issues, and everybody has stayed pretty healthy," he said. "We had a few crashes here and there, but we're a pretty healthy team so far this year. We've picked up four wins so far, but I think we can do better than that, so I'm not saying we're exactly 100 per cent satisfied with the performance yet, but we're not far off.
"We're not going to be battling up in the GC space right now. We're going to fight through these one-day races and the shorter one-week stage races like this, but the Grand Tours are a little bit out of our reach – not in terms of winning a stage, but in terms of the general classification."
Ochowicz added, however, that the team is on the right track.
"We had a pretty good Classics season," he said. "We made two podiums with Greg, and were always in the fight. We just didn't have enough to get it across the line first."
As for the general classification deficit, Ochowicz said the team planned to add a GC rider next year, although not necessarily a contender for the Grand Tours.
"That's another question," he said of adding a GC rider for Grand Tours, rather than someone for only the shorter stage races. "I don't know. You know, you have to go through the list of GC contenders, looking at the names and the teams, and not everybody's available, or doesn't fit in with the team... So we're not in any race to do that, but it's in the plan in the future."
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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