Omega Pharma-Quick Step to set up Continental development team
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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Omega Pharma-Quick Step to set up Continental development team

by Ben Atkins at 6:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Pressure of WorldTour too much for emerging riders, says sponsor

omega pharma-quick stepOmega Pharma-Quick Step is to set up a development team in 2013, which will race at Continental level, according to Sporza. The International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour is too pressured an environment for young riders to emerge, says Marc Coucke, the head of chief sponsor Omega Pharma, and setting up a team at the lower level will offer a chance to do so.

“We are looking to focus on youth,” Coucke told Het Laatste Nieuws.

“Because our elite team spends the whole year trying to score points in the WorldTour, it is not possible for all neo-pros to get a chance,” he explained. “To make this possible we are going to establish a Continental team.”

The team will reportedly race under the name of Etixx, a sports nutrition company recently acquired by Omega Pharma, and will race at a lower level - and so not come up against - it’s WorldTour big brother.

The new team will see Omega Pharma-Quick Step become the latest top flight outfit to set up a development team, including Rabobank, whose under-23 operation has existed since 2002 [although its future is currently in doubt after the withdrawal of the sponsor - ed] Garmin-Sharp being fed by Chipotle-First Solar, Katusha by Itera-Katusha, and Lampre-ISD by ISD-Lampre.

“The team will be a mixed group with both sprinters, time triallists and climbers,” Coucke explained. “Organisers of smaller races should be pleased; if our WorldTour team is required to be present in Canada or China, we will be able to bring our Continental team to the start.”

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