Omega Pharma-Quick Step sending teams to Vattenfall Cyclassics and USA Pro Cycling Challenge
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Omega Pharma-Quick Step sending teams to Vattenfall Cyclassics and USA Pro Cycling Challenge

by Ben Atkins at 11:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vattenfall Cyclassics
Boonen leads Classics team to Hamburg; Leipheimer defending with climbers in Colorado

levi leipheimerAlthough nine of its riders are lining up at the start of la Vuelta a España this Saturday, Omega Pharma-Quick Step will also be sending rosters to the Vattenfall Cyclassics on Sunday, and the seven-day USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which starts on Monday. Both races are entirely different in character, and this is reflected in the team’s two line-ups, with Belgian champion Tom Boonen leading a sprint and Classics team to the one day WorldTour race in Hamburg, Germany, and Levi Leipheimer taking much more of a climbing team to the Colorado stage race.

“The Vattenfall Cyclassics is a race traditionally devoted to the sprinters," said directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters. "We’ve built the team around Boonen. Tom is ready for this race. The Eneco Tour has been a good preparation.”

Along with Boonen will be German sprinter Gerard Ciolek who, after second place last year - and two previous third places - is surely hoping to finally win his home Classic. While the flat run in to the finish in the centre of Hamburg means that the race usually finishes in a sprint however, the steep hills on the course have the potential to allow breaks to get away to victory; Omega Pharma-Quick Step is going prepared for every eventuality.

“Beside the riders ready to help Tom for the final, we have two or three guys also able to enter in the main actions if needed,” Peeters explained. “The finale is always nervous and a lot of things can happen, but we have a good team and we will go for a good result.”

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge offers very different challenges, since the entire race will take place in the high altitude of the state of Colorado. Levi Leipheimer is the defending champion, having won the inaugural edition of the race for previous team RadioShack and, after an injury-hit season - which prevented him from fully contesting in his home Tour of California - the American is confident ahead of the race.

“I'm looking forward to racing the USA Pro Challenge again,” he said, “and, with the help of my Omega Pharma - Quick Step teammates, I hope to defend my title from last year. Colorado is a beautiful place with literally breathtaking courses that will take us over 12,000 foot passes.

“Last year the support from the fans was incredible and rivalled the Grand Tours in Europe,” he added. “I can't wait to experience it again.”

Leipheimer will be joined in Colorado by Irish champion Matt Brammeier, Italian sprinter Francesco Chicchi, and both Slovakian Velits brothers, Martin and Peter; the latter of which is the only other member of the team to have ridden the race last year. The team will also give another experience of top-level US racing to stagiaire Jeroen Hoorne, who joined Omega Pharma-Quick Step at the beginning of the month.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step team for the Vattenfall Cyclassics
Tom Boonen, Gerald Ciolek, Bert Grabsch, Nikolas Maes, Jérôme Pineau, Matteo Trentin, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Stijn Vandenbergh

Omega Pharma-Quick Step team for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Matthew Brammeier, Francesco Chicchi, Jeroen Hoorne, Levi Leipheimer, Martin Velits and Peter Velits


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