Tour de France: Cavendish and Martin head Omega Pharma Quick Step squad, Boonen confirmed absent
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Monday, June 17, 2013

Tour de France: Cavendish and Martin head Omega Pharma Quick Step squad, Boonen confirmed absent

by VeloNation Press at 1:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Belgian squad motivated to clock up several stage wins

Mark CavendishThe fastest sprinter in cycling, Mark Cavendish, and the world time trial champion Tony Martin has been confirmed as heading the Omega Pharma Quick Step team in the upcoming Tour de France, which begins in Corsica on June 29th and will run for 3,479 kilometres and 21 stages.

There is however no participation for former world road race champ Tom Boonen, who will miss the race as previously thought likely.

While Boonen has had a very lean season to date due to injury and illness, he is sticking with his intention of bypassing the Tour. Instead, Cavendish will be the team’s main hope for individual stage wins, while Martin will play a part in his train and also strive for success in the time trials.

“We have a strong team at the Tour de France,” confirmed sport and development manager Rolf Aldag today. “Together with the sport directors we talked this morning with all the guys and they are really committed to the team goals.”

The squad has clocked up thirty victories this year, with Cavendish taking twelve of them. Unsurprisingly, earning him more successes is a major motivation for the squad as it heads towards the sport’s biggest race.

“Cav is there to try and win stages, and of course one of the big goals of Mark is to go for the yellow jersey on the first day,” said Aldag, who previously worked with Cavendish at the highly-successful HTC Highroad squad. “This is something he missed for the moment — he has worn yellow before, but never after the first stage of the Tour.”

The Manxman has taken 23 individual stage victories in the race and is determined to add to that this year. He also wants to go again for what would be his second green jersey. His motivation will be increased after a frustration experience last year, when his-then Sky team was focussed on the overall victory of Bradley Wiggins and passed up a couple of chances to help their sprinter win stages.

He ultimately took three stages, less than in previous years, and expressed his frustration at not being given more opportunity. His move to Omega Pharma Quick Step was designed to provide him with a more dedicated leadout, although the train has been a little ‘off’ in several key races this year.

Things appeared to be coming together at the Giro d’Italia and the team leadout train from that race will be used. “They are already tested in race situations and will be ready again,” said Aldag. “[Gert] Steegmans will be the last man, and Matteo Trentin will be the second to last man. But, all the team will be committed with Mark when the stage will fit his characteristics. Tony Martin will be there to ride to the ‘Flamme Rouge’ on the flat stages. He will bring Matteo, Gert and Cav into the best position possible in the final kilometre”

Those riders will be joined by Sylvain Chavanel, Michal Kwiatkowski, Jerome Pineau, Niki Terpstra and Peter Velits.

Aldag also explained how some of those will race. “Kwiatkowski is the youngest guy of the team,” he said. “We decided to bring him because it's time to get this kind of experience, to try and wear the white jersey even for a limited time. It will be a kind of dream for him and of course a great achievement for the team. We will try to make it real, but without stress or pressure. He has to learn a lot and Le Tour will be another important step of his learning process.

“As for Matteo, he has shown his passion in his role already at the Giro d’Italia and his youth combined with enthusiasm will be valuable once again at his second grand tour of 2013.”

Martin has had a successful year already, with time trial victories in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Tour de Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné, Tirreno-Adriatico, the Volta ao Algarve and the Tour of Belgium, as well as the overall classification in the latter two of those.

He is aiming to further increase that impressive tally in the race, and will also be of major assistance to the team in the group race against the clock and in setting Cavendish up for sprints.

“Tony will also be there to get his chances at the time trials,” said Aldag. “The first ITT will be a little more appropriate for his skills. The second will be difficult, but for sure he will still try his best. He will also be an important piece to our TTT as he is the world champion of this discipline, so we will rely on his strength to lead us during this stage.

“The team can also count on Chavanel, who showed already what he is able to do: win stages and wear the yellow jersey,” Aldag continued. “Chava will play a tactical role on the team. He will try to get his chances on stages more suitable for him. He's a French guy, super motivated and also committed to the team work we are looking for from our riders. He's a guy every team would like to have for a demanding race like the Tour de France.”

He added that Pineau will both work for Cavendish on flat stages and also stay with him in the mountains, while Velits and Terpstra will be charged with riding well in the TTT and also controlling the race on the flat.

“With riders like this and experienced guys like them, you can always have something surprising with great actions.”

Team CEO Patrick Lefevere states that the team’s goal is to win several stages and is confident in the riders’ ability.

“We have for sure one of the best teams in the entire field at the Tour,” Lefevere said. “Mark counts on a committed team built around him. For the team, it will be also important to show themselves in any situation possible. With seven stages for the sprinters, one TTT and two ITT, we can be protagonists in almost half the stages in the Tour. That is without counting riders like Chavanel and Terpstra, who have the ability to play a role in medium mountain stages.”

Omega Pharma-QuickStep for Tour de France:

Mark Cavendish (GBr)
Tony Martin (Ger)
Sylvain Chavanel (Fra)
Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol)
Jerome Pineau (Fra)
Gert Steegmans (Bel)
Niki Terpstra (Ned)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Peter Velits (Svk)

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