Renshaw aiming for home soil success with Omega Pharma Quick Step in Santos Tour Down Under
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Renshaw aiming for home soil success with Omega Pharma Quick Step in Santos Tour Down Under

by VeloNation Press at 9:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
Australian rider and Tour de France stage winner Jan Bakelandts to head Belgian squad

Mark RenshawMoving across to the Omega Pharma Quick Step team in order to reunite with Mark Cavendish in 2014, Mark Renshaw will have his own chances in the first race in the WorldTour calendar, the Santos Tour Down Under.

The Australian sprinter is aiming to shine on home soil, being confirmed today as one of the protected riders on the team for January’s race.

He will be part of a solid seven-man selection for the event and with several flat finishes in store, will have chances to clock up an early victory with his new team.

Renshaw competed alongside Cavendish while with the HTC Highroad team, being one of his top leadout men, but then moved to Rabobank, which subsequently became Team Belkin.

He had hoped to forge a career as a star sprinter but while he took wins such as stages in the Presidential Tour of Turkey and the Eneco Tour plus the 2013 Clásica del Almería, he hasn’t been quite as fast as the likes of Cavendish, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) or Marcel Kittel (Argos Shimano).

That prompted a rethink and as a result he is reuniting with Cavendish, who he will hope to pilot to many big victories.

Still, Renshaw will grab his own chances where possible and will see the Santos Tour Down Under as a big opportunity.

He will be joined by 2013 Tour de France stage winner and yellow jersey Jan Bakelants, who will also have ambitions for the race.

Directeur sportif Rik Van Slycke will guide the riders and said that he has high expectations. “The routes won’t be much different that what we saw in the last edition of the race,” he stated.

“We’ll have a few days in Australia before the race to adjust to the jet lag and take advantage of the good weather to train. The squad will have an athlete like Mark Renshaw, who will be highly motivated for his hometown race, in which he’s already done well in the past.

“The goal is to stand out as major players from the get go and try to obtain a victory right away. It will be an important way to get the season of to the best possible start.”

In addition to Renshaw and Bakelants, British sprinter Andy Fenn, the experienced Belgian Serge Pauwels, Italy’s Matteo Trentin (Italy) and Spain’s Carlos Verona Quintanilla will take part. The team will be completed by the young French neo-pro Julian Alaphilippe, who will be keen to make a good impression.

Race director Mike Turtur knows that the team could be one of the best in the race.

“Omega Pharma Quick-Step delivers consistently strong performances at UCI WorldTour races and they’ve named a solid, experienced group of riders to kick off the season,” he stated.

“Serge Pauwels, who won the mountains classification at the 2007 Santos Tour Down Under, will return and is likely to be in the mix on climbs such as Corkscrew and Menglers hills. The team we’ll see here in South Australia has a good mix of strengths and we look forward to seeing how this translates across the varied race routes we’ve presented.”

The Santos Tour Down Under race programme begins on January 19th with the People’s Choice Classic in Adelaide. The WorldTour race begins two days later with a 135 kilometre race from Nuriootpa to Angaston. Subsequent finishes will take place in Stirling, Campbelltown, Victor Harbor, Willunga Hill and Adelaide.

Richie Porte was confirmed earlier this week as heading Team Sky there. He, former winner Simon Gerrans and Cadel Evans will be big crowd draws, but the Omega Pharma Quick Step team will also earn plenty of attention.

“The guys who are going there are really looking forward to the race,” said the team’s sport and development manager Rolf Aldag. “Compared to the rest of the team, their preparation is more advanced so they will be in shape for the race.

“On the squad we have a good mix of expert riders and young athletes who can really benefit from this experience.”

Omega Pharma Quick-Step team for the Santos Tour Down Under:

Julian Alaphilippe (France)
Jan Bakelants (Belgium)
Andrew Fenn (Great Britain)
Serge Pauwels (Belgium)
Mark Renshaw (Australia)
Matteo Trentin (Italy)
Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spain)

Stage details:

Sunday 19 January: People’s Choice Classic, Adelaide (50km)
Monday 20 January: Rest day
Tuesday 21 January: Stage 1, Nuriootpa to Angaston (135km)
Wednesday 22 January: Stage 2, Prospect to Stirling (150km)
Thursday 23 January: Stage 3, Norwood to Campbelltown (145km)
Friday 24 January: Bupa Stage 4, Unley to Victor Harbor (148.5km)
Saturday 25 January: Stage 5, McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (151.5km)
Sunday 26 January: Stage 6, Adelaide (95km)


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