Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders delighted with “unexpected” team time trial World title
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders delighted with “unexpected” team time trial World title

by Ben Atkins at 4:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Traditional Belgian Classics team strengthened by powerful time triallists proves that teamwork counts

omega pharma-quick stepThe six victorious riders of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team have all expressed their delight with a victory in the new World team time trial championships, which Belgian road champion Tom Boonen admitted he “didn’t expect”. The Belgian team, whose history has been dominated by victories in the Classics for riders like Boonen, has changed in recent years; with the acquisition of strong riders against the clock, like individual World champion Tony Martin, and multiple French champion Sylvain Chavanel has made it a very different team this season.

As the riders proved however, good teamwork can make a six-man group of riders faster than the sum of its parts. Omega Pharma-Quick Step completed the 53.2km course in time of 1hr 03’17”, to win by a slim three-second margin over the more-fancied BMC Racing Team.

Three of the team are no strangers to World championship podiums, with Boonen having won the 2005 elite road race, Velits the 2007 under-23 road race, and Martin having taken bronze in the individual time trial in 2009 and 2010, before finally taking the title last year.

"I put this victory near my biggest, along with the Classics and the Road World Championship," said Boonen, whose success in the 2012 Classics has been unprecedented. "I didn't expect to win a race like this, first of all because it never existed before and in the past it wasn't our discipline. We worked a lot and now we are there. It's a team victory even for the staff. It's really a change of mentality going on."

omega pharma-quick step"We fought together as a team," agreed Martin, whose power earned him the nickname Der Panzerwagen. "I'm really happy for all the team. We maintained always a good pace. I really enjoyed today. It was fun and I really like this idea, this TTT World Championship. The team work was once again the key to the success. This victory gives me a lot of morale for Wednesday's race."

Although he is a less proficient time triallist than his World champion teammate, Velits is the Slovakian national champion and had been practicing the discipline ahead of this event.

"I worked a lot on the TT bike," he said. "When you are on the team like that you cannot go wrong. We did a good ride, without mistakes. We were really fast on the parcours. This race is a good idea, it gives great prestige to the teams. It's great also as a Slovakian rider. I brought a title to my home country and now I'm looking forward to the next Worlds races in Limburg."

Despite being a multiple French champion in both road race and time trial, the nearest that Chavanel - the oldest in the team at 33 - has been to the Worlds podium was his tenth place in the 2008 time trial in Varese, Italy. The veteran paid tribute to the teamwork that has finally got him there.

"It's super to be a part of the group; I'm proud," he said. "It's really a great team effort, even for the staff. After the finish it was an explosion of happiness. it was a great week preparing the TTT. We were together, working together, paying attention to all the little details. I have to thank also our staff. They were great during the entire approach to the race. We were thinking about this race for a long time. I have no world champion jersey but I'm happy as I have this gold medal! I think it's a great discipline. Fun to do, and great to watch for the public. It's also a great motivation for Wednesday's race!"

Vandewalle, the second youngest - and least experienced - in the team, wins the title in only his second season at elite WorldTour level. The recently crowned Belgian time trial champion was understandably delighted with the victory as he paid tribute to his more experienced mentor.

"It's my first time in a great race like that," he said. "What a feeling! When I was selected it was a great moment. I was a little bit scared but Sylvain Chavanel - my roommate - helped me to pass the emotion.

“I really gave everything. It will be a special memory for the rest of my career."

It was arguably most special for Terpstra however, as the only Dutch rider on the team - and, in fact, the only Dutchman in the team’s 32-man roster - as he took the title in his home country. Like Boonen, the 28-year-old is his country’s reigning national road champion, and has never taken a time trial at this level.

"I'm happy because we won in front of my public," said Terpstra. "This finish and the Cauberg are legendary in cycling.

“It wasn't our goal to arrive with six riders, but we made it anyway,” he added. “Nobody wanted to give up! We really raced like a team today."

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