Want You Cycling, the company behind the Circus-Wanty Gobert team have taken over Continuum Sports, the operating company behind CCC Team, it was announced on Tuesday. As part of the deal, the Belgian team will also take over the WorldTour license for 2021.
CCC had confirmed earlier this year that they would be leaving the sport at the end of this season due to financial pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, having cut wages by 50 per cent earlier in the year so the team could finish the 2020 season.
The team manager and current owner of the WorldTour license, Jim Ochowicz, has spent several months looking for a new financial backer for his team but today's news ends that search and any hope of the American running a squad in the same capacity in 2021.
Circus-Wanty Gobert will now run the operation with Ochowicz kept on as the team transitions into the WorldTour.
“With the co-founders of Want You Cycling, Benoit Soenen, Christophe Wanty, Ronald Gobert and David Sauvage, we built our project step-by-step with the ambition to one day move to the WorldTour," Jean-François Bourlart, general manager of Want You Cycling said in a press release.
"The moment had to be right, the structure had to be ready, and our partners eager to follow us. We are therefore very proud today to take over the project from Jim Ochowicz and Gavin Chilcott and present to the UCI the continuation of Continuum Sports in the WorldTour,
"With the long experience of Jim Ochowicz and Gavin Chilcott, we will do everything possible to ensure the sustainability of our WorldTour project. I have no doubts that our team will become a success in the World Tour, as it has at the Professional Continental level over the years, and as BMC Racing Team and CCC Team have too."
This, however, is not a merger and it's unclear at this point as to whether any of the current CCC Team riders still without contracts will be offered new terms by Circus-Wanty Gobert.
CCC will finish out the rest of 2020 before Want You Cycling take over the license next season. Alessandro De Marchi leads the team at Wednesday's Flèche Wallonne and Ilnur Zakarin leads at the Giro d'Italia, while Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin will fight for results at the cobbled Classics next month.
"2020 has not been the year that any of us expected but we are motivated to finish the season as CCC Team on a high," Ochowicz said.
"Looking ahead, 2021 will see a new direction for the Continuum Sports organization and we are happy to be paving the way for Circus-Wanty Gobert to move to the WorldTour in what is a significant milestone for the Belgian team and a well-deserved promotion.
"Since the inception of Continuum Sports in 2007, we have made our mark on the cycling world with BMC Racing Team and CCC Team and we are well positioned to assist Circus-Wanty Gobert in this transition to the WorldTour.
"With ambitious long-term goals and a shared vision, we believe Circus-Wanty Gobert, under the leadership of Jean-François Bourlart, is an ideal fit to carry on the Continuum Sports legacy and we are in a position to support their efforts where needed."
Circus-Wanty Gobert, which currently has 18 riders under contract for 2021, was founded as Willems Verandas back in 2009, ascending to ProContinental status in 2011 and remaining there ever since.
CCC Team have already lost nine riders to other teams, including stars Van Avermaet to AG2R La Mondiale, Trentin to UAE Team Emirates and Fausto Masnada to Deceuninck-QuickStep.
Other riders who have found new teams for 2021 include Patrick Bevin and Alessandro De Marchi to Israel Start-Up Nation, Szymon Sajnok to Cofidis, Nathan Van Hooydonck to Jumbo-Visma and the duo of Gijs Van Hoecke and Michael Schär, who will join Van Avermaet at AG2R.
Riders confirmed as moving to Circus-Wanty Gobert for 2021 includ Rein Taaramae from Total Direct Énergie, Baptiste Planckaert from Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles and Lorenzo Rota from Vini Zabù-KTM.