Omega Pharma-Quick Step sends its climbing team to Brabantse Pijl
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Omega Pharma-Quick Step sends its climbing team to Brabantse Pijl

by Ben Atkins at 11:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Brabantse Pijl
 
Belgian team takes aim at the Ardennes Classics after Tom Boonen’s total domination of the Cobbles

dries devenynsAfter its almost total domination of the Cobbled-Classics, through Belgian superstar Tom Boonen, Omega Pharma-Quick Step is sending its climbing team to tomorrow’s Brabantse Pijl - the Flèche Brabaçonne - the first of the hillier Classics. While Boonen himself has said that he will be riding in the Amstel Gold Race this coming Sunday, he will be resting up during this week as he recovers from a phenomenal two week period that saw him win the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and Paris-Roubaix.

“The riders we selected for participation are riders that had good preparation at races like Volta a Catalunya and Pais Vasco,” explained directeur sportif Rik van Slycke. “They are ready for the second part of the Classics. It's a good group, with Dries Devenyns and Jérôme Pineau that are normally the leaders for these kinds of races. The leaders showed already last year they are able to do well in these kinds of races.”

Devenyns (pictured) finished sixth in last year’s edition of the race, which traverses Belgium’s two provinces of Flanders and Wallonia [which explains its dual Dutch/French name - ed] as part of the splintering chase group that followed winner Philippe Gilbert; Pineau was ninth, a few seconds behind his teammate.

Whether or not Omega Pharma-Quick Step will be able to dominate the hillier Classics of the Ardennes in the same way that they did the Cobbles of the north is pretty doubtful. Gilbert himself will be back, although he has yet to show much more than the occasional flash of the brilliance he displayed last spring. I addition to the Belgian champion, any hopeful winner will also have to counter the climbing threat of 2010 Tour de France winner Andy Schleck, who will be at the head of a powerful RadioShack-Nissan team.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step will be without one of its strong climbers, as Kristof Vandewalle - who finished 16th in last year’s Brabantse Pijl - is suffering from an intestinal illness, and will be replace in the team by Iljo Keisse.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step team for Brabantse Pijl/Flèche Brabaçonne
Marco Bandiera, Gerald Ciolek, Dries Devenyns, Michal Golas, Iljo Keisse, Jérôme Pineau, Martin Velits and Julien Vermote

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