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Rising sprint star Mareczko sees ‘more opportunities with CCC’

HAIKOU, China (VN) — Jakub Mareczko, a recent stage winner in the Tour of Hainan, sees more opportunities ahead with his step up to the WorldTour in 2019. Team CCC (formerly BMC Racing), signed the ‘home’ rider to lead its sprint arm through the next season. The Poland-born Italian will…

HAIKOU, China (VN) — Jakub Mareczko, a recent stage winner in the Tour of Hainan, sees more opportunities ahead with his step up to the WorldTour in 2019.

Team CCC (formerly BMC Racing), signed the ‘home’ rider to lead its sprint arm through the next season. The Poland-born Italian will switch after four years and 40 sprint wins with Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia.

“Yeah, for sure I’m excited. Next year, I can have more opportunities in the best races so I’m happy about this,” the 24-year-old told VeloNews.

“I don’t know, I don’t know what will happen next year,” he added when asked if he was nervous about the step up.

The warm ocean breeze washing inland over Haikou, the capital city of the Hainan island, suits him. China considers Hainan in the southeast its resort paradise and the race organizer publicizes it with the nine-day race. For Mareczko, China is a happy hunting ground, where he has won the majority of his victories. At Tour of Hainan, he has seven career wins. He kicked off the race well in 2018, winning stage 1 and taking the leader’s jersey.

Hainan is the end of his Wilier-Triestina chapter and the beginning of his WorldTour career. Immediately after, Mareczko will begin to receive programs from CCC American manager Jim Ochowicz and new kit to prepare for 2019.

BMC Racing traditionally focuses on classics and general classification at the tours. Mareczko will be able to sprint for points in several smaller UCI HC or -.1 races. Perhaps he will also have another chance in a grand tour.

“Jakub will have the opportunity to work with an established performance team and learn from some of the best riders in the peloton,” team boss Ochowicz said last month. “Although Continuum Sports has never been a team dedicated to sprinters, we have many riders in the roster who will make a valuable lead-out for Jakub in the sprint finishes.”

“At the moment, I’m not sure, if they are changing teams or if [certain sprinters] are in CCC next year with me,” Mareczko said.

“For sure, there are smaller races like 2.1 events and there are grand tours.”

An inability to climb with other sprinters holds back Mareczko from winning more. When the road rises, he is usually out the back of the peloton.

“I don’t know next year which races I’ll do, but I hope to do many flat races where I can do well. We’ll have to look over the next year’s program,” he added.

He has had his chances at a grand tour with Wilier Triestina, though. The second-division Italian team took him to the Giro d’Italia in the last three years with its wildcard invitation. He placed second behind Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) in Tel Aviv and fourth the next day. In 2017, he sprinted to second twice in the Giro. In each edition, however, he had to abandon when the mountains became too much.

“Viviani was very strong so my second place was good at the Giro,” said Mareczko about the 2018 Giro.

“I’ll have some good races next year, any WorldTour races would be a great result for me.”

He is rumored to earn around €400,000 currently. It is a large amount for ‘Kuba,’ but he could earn valuable UCI points in HC and -.1 races around the world.

CCC has not revealed Mareczko’s contract details, but he should have a two-year contract that runs through 2020 and wage of around €500,000 in 2019. It is a perfect fit for Mareczko, who moved to Brescia, Italy, with his family when he was five. The American BMC team, with its base in Belgium, is merging with Polish professional continental team CCC Sprandi Polkowice for the 2019.

“The team is half-Polish and half-Belgian, so maybe that is the reason why they chose me.”