Van Avermaet, Trentin and Zakarin target stage wins in CCC’s final Tour de France

SIENA ITALY AUGUST 01 Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium and CCC Team Davide Formolo of Italy and UAE Team Emirates Alberto Bettiol of Italy and Team EF Pro Cycling during the Eroica 14th Strade Bianche 2020 Men a 184km race from Siena to SienaPiazza del Campo StradeBianche on August 01 2020 in Siena Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

CCC Team will throw their emphasis behind stage hunting in this year’s Tour de France, while also giving Ilnur Zakarin the chance to ride for his own GC bid.

The Polish team announced their eight-man squad for the Tour de France on Friday with four previous stage winners within their ranks. The team will be spearheaded by Olympic road champion, Greg Van Avermaet, with the Belgian flanked by an array of attacking options including Matteo Trentin and Alessandro De Marchi. Jan Hirt also makes his debut and finished 12th in the Giro d’Italia in 2017. Alongside Zakarin he will lead the team in the mountains, while there is also a spot for former Tour de France stage winner Simon Geschke.

However, this will be the team’s final appearance in the Tour de France after it was confirmed that CCC would end their relationship as the team’s title sponsor at the end of the calendar year. The Polish company faced severe financial pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while team boss Jim Ochowicz is still in the hunt for funding in 2021, Van Avermaet and a host of other riders have already signed contracts with other teams. Ochowicz remains upbeat, however, and is grateful for the chance to lead a team into the Tour.

“It is a great feeling to be heading to the Tour de France again in a year where we didn’t know if it would be possible. It will be a Tour like no other with the lack of racing in the lead up adding an additional element to what we expect will be a great race. Tour de France stage wins are not easy to come by but we have selected our strongest eight riders to line up in Nice, half of whom are past stage winners which gives us a lot of confidence ahead of the race. Ilnur Zakarin will have freedom to see what he can do on the General Classification and we will support him as much as possible but ultimately, our focus is on arriving in Paris with at least one stage win to our name,” Ochowicz said in a release issued by the team.

Van Avermaet is hoping to go out on a high. He has been part of the Continuum Sports organization  - the holders of the CCC Team’s WorldTour organization since joining BMC Racing back in 2011. The  35-year-old sees a number of possibilities when it comes to targeting stages in the race.

“I’m feeling good and I’m excited to get to Nice and start the Tour de France. We all know it’s going to be a different race and everyone is lining up without many race days in the legs so it’s hard to know what to expect but so far, I’ve been happy with my form. I think every day will be even more of a fight than ever, for both the stage wins and General Classification, so we’re in for a tough race," Van Avermaet said.

"But that suits me and I think there are a few stages that are good for me. We have a strong team with a lot of experience and I think we can work well together to achieve the team’s goals. This will be my last Tour de France with Continuum Sports so it will be a special one for me and I’m even more motivated to get a good result,” Van Avermaet said.

CCC Team in full for the Tour de France: Greg Van Avermaet, Matteo Trentin, Ilnur Zakarin, Michael Schär , Jan Hirt, Simon Geschke, Alessandro De Marchi and Jonas Koch

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