Peter Velits to lead Omega Pharma-Quick Step to Tirreno Adriatico
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Peter Velits to lead Omega Pharma-Quick Step to Tirreno Adriatico

by Ben Atkins at 8:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico
Tour of Oman winner ambitious for the Race of the Two Seas

peter velitsOmega Pharma-Quick Step will be led in this week’s Tirreno-Adriatico by general classification hopeful Peter Velits. With Levi Leipheimer and Tony Martin both riding Paris-Nice, the Slovakian Tour of Oman winner and former Vuelta a España podium finisher will have the Belgian team behind him in the Race of the Two Seas.

The seven-day race begins on Wednesday, March 7th, with a 16.9km team time trial between the Etruscan coastal town of San Vincenzo and Doneratico - the finishing town of the Italian season-opener the GP Costa degli Etruschi. The team - simply called Quick Step - could only manage 19th in last year’s equivalent stage, losing 1’08” to winners Rabobank; with Velits though, and the power of former World time trial champion Bert Grabsch - as well as a far bigger incentive to remain in overall contention - should see a far better performance this time.

“It’s going to be a very challenging race,” explained directeur sportif Davide Bramati. “The opening team time trial and the concluding individual time trial will be spectacular but the race will be decided in the 5th stage with arrival at Prato di Tivo. The final climb is 14 kilometres long with an average incline of 7% and stretches as steep as 12%.

“As far as the general classification, the team will be built around Peter Velits, the fantastic winner of the Tour of Oman,” he added. “Peter will have a balanced team at his side, with riders who can support him both in the climbs as well as on the flatter stages. In the stages for sprinters we can count on Gert Steegmans and Gerald Ciolek who are both enjoying a period of top form; for the time trials we have the skills of Bert Grabsch.”

Unfortunately, after a crash in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Peter Velits will not be able to rely on the support of twin brother Martin. The Slovakian took a blow to his right knee and has been resting until recently; he will be replaced in the team by Belgian Serge Pauwels.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step for Tirreno-Adriatico
Dario Cataldo, Gerald Ciolek, Bert Grabsch, Serge Pauwels, Jérôme Pineau, Gert Steegmans, Niki Terpstra, Peter Velits


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