Sports Director Jackson Stewart said without a General Classification favorite in the team, the riders will have the freedom to take different opportunities.
“Our primary objective at the Amgen Tour of California is a stage win, so we will be looking for opportunities wherever we can find them with all of our riders. Without one main leader, the riders will have freedom, so we can try for the sprints with Szymon Sajnok and we will keep an eye on the General Classification with Riccardo Zoidl, as he was looking good at the Tour de Romandie,” Stewart explained.
“Will Barta is our American rider so he will be really motivated to go for a good result on home soil, and we have Simon Geschke returning from injury so no doubt he is looking forward to getting back to the start line. He bounced back really well in Catalunya after his first crash, so I think he can still do well in California despite the bumpy start he has had this season. It’s nice to line up with a versatile and motivated team and hopefully, we can continue the success the team has had in the last years there.”
Barta is relishing the chance to race on home soil after a strong showing at the Tour de Romandie, where he finished in eighth place in the final time trial.
“I am very excited to be back at California with CCC Team. As an American rider, it is always a highlight to race in front of a very supportive and excited crowd. It is my third Amgen Tour of California, but my first with a WorldTour team so it makes me extremely proud to return to California and the US as a member of a team at the highest level,” Barta explained.
“I think that I came out of the Tour de Romandie with good form, and now I would like to perform across the entire week in California. My objectives for the race are to consistently be in the mix each day and seize the opportunities that come every stage, whether it is personally or supporting a teammate. I think that while stage 2 and 3 will be challenging, the race will really be decided on stage 6 and so I would really like to perform well on that day.”
Geschke is looking forward to hitting the reset button on his season after an injury-marred start to 2019.
“My recovery period was good and fortunately, I could train outside pretty soon after the surgery. I’m still feeling the ribs that were broken a little bit, but it’s not painful anymore and this is also normal only five weeks after the fractures. Also, the muscles around the shoulder still need some time. So I’m not at 100%, but the training was good and pain-free and I’m ready to race again,” Geschke said.
“It’s my debut at the Amgen Tour of California, and I’m really excited to race in the United States. I like being here but it’s rare that we race here, I have only raced the USA Pro Challenge in 2013 and the World Championships in Richmond so far in my career. I mainly want to get the race in the legs and not make any plans. I’ll take it day by day and see how I feel. I’m very motivated though and want to do the maximum of what I’m capable of.”
Amgen Tour of California (12-18 May)
Rider roster: William Barta (USA), Paweł Bernas (POL), Simon Geschke (GER), Szymon Sajnok (POL), Michael Schär (SUI), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Riccardo Zoidl (AUT)
Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Piotr Wadecki (POL)
📷 Cor Vos / Sirotti