Mark Cavendish to lead Omega Pharma-Quick Step in Volta ao Algarve
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Mark Cavendish to lead Omega Pharma-Quick Step in Volta ao Algarve

by Ben Atkins at 11:17 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta ao Algarve
Belgian team also hunting overall success with 2012 second place Tony Martin

mark cavendishMark Cavendish’s stellar season to date will continue at the Volta ao Algarve this week, as he leads the Omega Pharma-Quick Step in search of his sixth victory of the season. The Manx sprinter took four straight stages, and the overall title, in last week’s Tour of Qatar - to add to the stage victory he took at the Tour de San Luis in January - and could be set for futher glory as he makes his debut in the Portuguese race.

"The first two stages are suited for the skills of Mark Cavendish," explained Omega Pharma-Quick Step directeur sportif Tom Steels. "The stages are long, about 200 kilometres. They are also not completely flat. It's a question of handling the situations and controlling the race as much as we can.

As well as Cavendish, the Belgian team will be fielding World time trial champion Tony Martin, who finished second in last year’s race and hopes to go one better this time. The German has made a solid start to 2012, with an eighth place finish in the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, Deià-Lluc, the third race of the Challenge Mallorca.

As well as Martin, however, the team will also have the options of former French champion Sylvain Chavanel and Polish all-rounder Michal Kwiatkowski.

“There is also the third stage uphill finish on 2.5km, Category 2 Aldo do Malhao. It's important for the GC, and the parcours is quite difficult,” Steels explained. “It will be important for riders such as Chavanel, Martin, and Kwiatkowski to stay near the front. We have three riders who on the last day are able to do a great performance on the time trial.

“The 34.8km TT is not so demanding and difficult,” he added. “Last year Tony was really close to victory. He was beaten only by Bradley Wiggins [Team Sky]. Tony is our best weapon for the TT, but we can count also on Michal, and on Chavanel who is also a good climber in these kind of uphill finishes. It will be important to not lose too much time on the climb, to be able to give everything the day after on the TT and go for a good result for the GC.”

Omega Pharma-Quick Step team for the Volta ao Algarve (February 14th-17th)
Mark Cavendish, Sylvain Chavanel, Dries Devenyns, Iljo Keisse, Michal Kwiatkowski, Nikolas Maes, Tony Martin, Gert Steegmans


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