Italian sprinter Jakub Mareczko will join Vini Zabú-KTM, returning to the Tuscan-based ProTeam where he started his career after two seasons at WorldTour level with CCC Team.
Mareczko was born in Poland but moved to Italy with his family when he was five and so has dual nationality. He began racing as a boy on Brescia and turned professional with the Southeast team, as Vini Zabú-KTM was known in 2015.
“I’m going back to what can be considered my second home, the team where I turned professional as a young rider and where I won a lot,” Mareczko said.
“In the last two years I think I‘ve improved by working with my teammates and by taking on my rivals. I hope the experience I’ve gained can help me improve even more and win again. I’m very motivated and want to show it right from the start of the 2021 season.”
During his 2020 season at CCC, Mareczko won three stages at the Tour de Hongrie and took several placings before and after the COVID-19 lockdown, including a third place at the Vuelta a Espana. Many of his 43 career victories have come in China, where he regularly dominated the sprints at the Tour of Hainan and the Tour of Taihu Lake.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the CCC Team hard with the Polish shoe retailer obliged to close its hundreds of stores.
The brand stopped funding the team, forcing team manager Jim Ochowicz to cut salaries significantly and make staff temporarily redundant so the team could race on in the second half of the season.
Ochowicz failed to find a new sponsor and eventually sold the team and its WorldTour licence to the Belgian Circus – Wanty Gobert team, who will step up to WorldTour level in 2021.
Most of the CCC Pro Team’s riders and staff have found places for 2021, with
Will Barta, Kamil Gradek, Michal Paluta, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Lukas Wisniowski still to confirm their futures.
Matteo Trentin will ride for UAE Team Emirates, Greg van Avermaet for AG2R-Citroen, Ilnur Zakarin for Gazprom and the USA’s Joey Rosskopf has signed for Rally Cycling.
Vini Zabú-KTM lost team leader Giovanni Visconti to Italian rival Bardiani-CSF and hope the return of Mareczko will help secure another wild card invitation to the Giro d’Italia and other major races.
“It’s great to have ‘Kuba’ (Jakub Mareczko) back. I’m sure he’ll be at the centre of our plans and that will help him,” Vini Zabú-KTM directeur sportif Luca Sicnto said.
“In the last two year we haven’t really found success in the sprints but Mareczko is the right guy to ensure we get back to winning.”