For Jim Ochowicz, the whole of 2018 was a race against time in two halves – the first to save his team after the withdrawal of BMC, the second to piece together a largely new one with the backing of Polish company CCC. In Denia, Spain, this week, the whole operation came together, as riders and staff gathered for a pre-season training camp, and Ochowicz set out the team's vision and plans.
There was a familiar feel as Greg Van Avermaet strolled around the lobby of the five-star Marriot La Sella hotel, the base for the December camp for a number of years now. Yet there was so much that was new; the team name, the sponsor, the colours, the kit supplier, the bike supplier, some sports directors, mechanics and, most importantly of all, riders.
With so many new faces – and so many names so difficult to pronounce – everyone wore name badges, as if it were the first day of school.
There are no fewer than 14 new riders, compensating for an exodus that saw more than half of the BMC squad, including Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis, leave for pastures new, most unable to wait for Ochowicz to pull off his late save. Many of the new faces have stepped up from the Pro Continental ranks, with a number of them graduating from the old CCC-Sprandi Polkowice set-up.