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Ochowicz confirms CCC leaving as title sponsor

Status of women's team remains uncertain, but men's side hopes strong performances will help secure new backers for 2021.

Veteran manager Jim Ochowicz is back on the hunt for a new title sponsor.

The world economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic means that CCC, the Polish shoemaker, will not be backing the men’s WorldTour team beyond 2020.

“Looking ahead to the 2021 season, CCC will no longer be the title sponsor, so we are now actively looking for a new title sponsor,” Ochowicz said Monday. “We are in an unprecedented time, but we are confident there are companies that want to invest in cycling, especially given the global rise in popularity of bike riding in recent months.”

Ochowicz’s confirmation comes after months of uncertainty for CCC Team, which was unable to meet the team’s budget, forcing a series of layoffs and salary reductions for the WorldTour outfit. CCC came on as title sponsor in 2019 following the closure of BMC Racing in the aftermath of the passing of longtime benefactor Andy Rihs.

Because the men’s team is run as a separate entity from the women’s team and development team, the status of the latter two teams remains uncertain, officials said.

“It is still too early to say which will be our main and secondary sponsors,” CCC-Liv team manager Rik Booltink told VeloNews in a statement. “We are also busy with sponsoring and see positive developments. We are convinced that we, as a team, will come out of this crisis strongly.”

Booltink confirmed the team will resume racing shortly, with two races in northern Spain as the team’s first races back since March, with the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa on July 23, and the Clasica Femenina Navarra on July 24.

On the men’s side, Ochowicz retains control of the WorldTour license, and he expressed confidence a new backer will be found for the team. Ochowicz, a former manager at 7-Eleven and Motorola, founded the latest team nearly 15 years ago. It grew into BMC Racing, which won the Tour de France with Australian rider Cadel Evans in 2011.

“Under the Continuum Sports ownership and license, we have grown from a US Continental Team in 2007 to one of the biggest WorldTour teams in the peloton in recent years,” he said Monday in a team release. “We have every intention of continuing under new title sponsorship.”

As the title search continues behind the scenes, the team confirmed it will be sending riders to train at altitude at different points across Europe ahead of the hopeful resumption of racing at the Vuelta a Burgos in northern Spain in late July. The team’s service course in Belgium will open later this month ahead of the expected easing of travel restrictions in the Eurozone by early July.

“At this stage, we will be covering the full WorldTour schedule with some additional one day and stage races so we will likely be running two to three race programs throughout the four-month period,” Ochowicz said. “We will be in a position to share our race calendar and key rider goals in the coming weeks as we finalize our plans.”

Ochowicz said the team’s ambitions have not changed despite disruption to the international racing calendar.

“Our first priority is returning to the start line and achieving the season goals we set out in December,” he said. “The racing calendar may be more condensed now but we are more motivated than ever to achieve the key wins we outlined for 2020; a Monument win, a WorldTour one day win, a WorldTour stage race win, and a stage victory at each of the three grand tours. Every race day is an opportunity for our riders and it is clear that strong performances in the early races are going to be instrumental in securing the team’s long-term future.”