Matteo Trentin has told Cyclingnews that his first preference is to remain with Continuum Sport after it was confirmed earlier this week that title sponsor CCC would be pulling out of the sport at the end of the current campaign.
Trentin, who only signed for the team at the start of the year having moved from Mitchelton-Scott, believes that team boss Jim Ochowicz can find a replacement sponsor in the coming months and that the team must remain resolute and race together.
“When it first came out about the sponsor it was like getting hit by lightening but the team are trying hard to continue and they’ve told us they want to carry on,” Trentin told Cyclingnews during an as-yet-unreleased podcast interview.
“Now I’m just focusing on the racing because that’s what I’m paid for and that’s what I like to do.”
Racing is set to resume in August with all three Grand Tours and the classics sandwiched into a 71-day window. With so much at stake and uncertainty over the team’s future, riders may decide to race for their individual futures rather than collaborate. But Trentin, who will lead the team alongside Greg Van Avermaet in the Classics, believes that selfishness will not help anyone within the organization.
“I don’t think that will happen. If you look at how things played out in Omloop, we made the racing. Greg attacked, I attacked, he attacked and then I attacked again. Certainly, a small group formed and I was there and he wasn’t but if the group had come back he could have contested the win. There’s no point in any of us to race more selfishly than we did before. It won’t benefit anyone if we play that game.”
The wage cuts and the loss of CCC as a title sponsor in the men’s WorldTour is a significant blow for the sport, and especially for those directly affected. The COVID-19 pandemic, according to Trentin, has exposed the fragility within professional cycling, although the decorated Grand Tour stage winner added that he is more than eager to resume racing.
“The situation has been a bit sad because we’ve been caught up in the economic side of the coronavirus situation. The pandemic exposed all the problems that cycling has from an economic point of view. As a team we depend on a sponsor and our sponsor has thousands of shops across Europe and when they’re forced to close there is still a company that needs to be saved.
"I have to say that the team and the management have been working hard and after a couple of months of talking we came out of it with a good solution. Now we’re just waiting and really hungry to race.”
With Trentin set to ride the Tour de France and the Classics, the Italian has a busy late summer and autumn ahead of him. A major win would do a lot to help attract potential sponsors and his main focus is to remain focused on this year and hopefully remain with the organization he only just a few months ago.
“I think that it’s quite important but the most important thing is that a potential sponsor can see how much possibility comes with sponsoring a cycling team in terms of visibility. There is no other sport that gives them that much return.
"If you think about the racing that’s coming later in the year, you can be on television six hours a day, every day for almost three months. I’m trusting Jim and that he can pull something together to help the team carry on and my first choice is to stay. I’ve already talked to him and I’ve trusted in him to find us a sponsor.”
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