With a solid roster, including sprinters Jakub Mareczko and Jonas Koch, and two Polish debutants, Kamil Małecki and Paluta, the team will aim for a strong start to the season, Sports Director Fabio Baldato, who won this race in 2003, said.
“When you look at the route of Etoile de Bessèges, you will see that our fastest guys, Mareczko and Koch, will definitely have the opportunity to show off. That’s why we are bringing a young but experienced squad to support our sprinters from the first to the last kilometers. As well as looking for success, we also would like to see what shape they are in at the beginning of the season. The last stage is an individual time trial, so here we are counting on Kamil Gradek, who is a solid time trialist. Even though this stage finishes on a climb, which is usually demanding for Kamil, I am sure that he can perform well as he is in good shape.”
“This will be also a special race for us as we have two debutants, Małecki and Polish champion Paluta. Both riders are extremely motivated and they are looking forward to starting their journey at the WorldTour level. Etoile de Bessèges is a perfect race to start with and I’m sure that they’ll perform well.”
After a busy off season, including January’s training camp in Denia, Paluta is excited to make his debut after stepping up from CCC Development Team.
“It’s almost the same feeling I’m used to having every season, before the first races. But this time, it’s a bit different. First of all, I’m interested to see how my legs will react, whether the work I’ve done during the off season period will bring the intended results. In addition, this will be my first season in the WorldTeam and this gives me a lot of motivation. I’m trying to stay calm and do my best to be prepared for racing. We have a strong roster for this race, so we will definitely try to fight for stage wins. I want to check my legs and do everything for my teammates, so one of them could raise their hands at the finish line. And of course, I also want to show what I can do as well,” Paluta explained.
“The route is varied and the race is often accompanied by difficult weather conditions, so this can also affect the way the stages are raced. The final time trial will be a great test of how our bodies will react after a few days of regular racing. I’m really looking forward to the start of the season in new but “’old’ colors. “
Etoile de Bessèges (5 – 9 January)
Rider roster: Kamil Gradek (POL), Jonas Koch (GER), Kamil Małecki (POL), Jakub Mareczko (ITA), Michał Paluta (POL), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Georg Zimmermann (GER)
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Gabriele Missaglia (ITA)
📷 Getty Images