Omega Pharma-Quick Step “would like to continue the winning mood” in 2014
  June 17, 2024 Login  

Current Articles    |   Archives    |   RSS Feeds    |   Search

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Omega Pharma-Quick Step “would like to continue the winning mood” in 2014

by Ben Atkins at 6:10 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Spring Classics
Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish hoping for better at their main targets

tom boonenOmega Pharma-Quick Step is hoping that it can carry on in 2014 where it left off last year, as it looks toward the coming season. The multinational Belgian squad was winning from January to October in 2013, and retained its Team Time Trial title at the World championships in Florence, Italy.

As ever general manager Patrick Lefevere wants even more this year.

"For the next season we would like to continue the winning mood we had in 2013 and of course try and do even better," said Lefevere at the team’s media day at its training camp in Calpe, Spain. "Tom Boonen will be back and I have a feeling he is on the right track to return to his previous level. Tom will also find a group of motivated and strong riders for these kinds of races, for example Zdeněk Štybar and Niki Terpstra.

“Mark Cavendish is in his second year with OPQS, so he knows the riders and the team he has around him. He will once again be a leader of the team and for sure he is ready to have another great season after an already outstanding 2013.”

Boonen missed most of the 2013 season after suffering a serious elbow infection in January, then crashing heavily and injuring his knee in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Having picked up his first and only UCI victory at the Tour de Wallonie in late July, he was forced to bring the season to a premature end with a persistent saddle sore.

"I'm very hungry," Boonen said. "I've already had a lot of time on the bike since I started in September, so I also had a long winter but it was good for my condition. But that doesn't take away that I haven't raced since July, so I want to start racing again and see where I am in a race situation.

“It's always different in a race than during training so I want to start racing as soon as possible,” he continued. “As for training, it's gone very good. It's sublime. Until now there have been no real worries so that automatically means things are going really well. I'm very happy at the moment and can't wait to start my season at Tour de San Luis, a race that brought me luck in 2012 and opened one of my best seasons.

“However my focus for the first part of the season is on the Spring Classics,” Boonen added. “Everybody knows what those races mean to me and how I feel about them. I will do my best to be in top condition for those races and once the Classics are done I will then consider the second part of my season."

Manx Missile readjusts his aim for the Tour and is reunited with Mark Renshaw

mark cavendishCavendish may have had a very successful 2013 season, winning 19 races including the Tour of Qatar, five stages of the Giro d’Italia and the British championship, but it has been the Tour de France where the Manxman is judged each year. Two stage victories in last years race is Cavendish’s lowest return from the Grande Boucle since he started winning there in 2008; while he remains the most successful sprinter in the race’s history, his crown slipped a little in 2013 and will face a battle to straighten it again in 2014.

"For sure the Tour de France is my biggest goal for the season," Cavendish said during one of his interviews. "As always I have to go and compete on that stage and win consistently.

“We've got an incredibly strong team this year for that, in fact, we've almost got too many riders to choose from,” the British champion explained. “We're in the best position. We've got so many riders to make a formation of nine from to win at the Tour.

“I'm excited to go, especially since it starts in the UK again,” he added. “It's the second time in my career that it starts in the UK. In 2007 when it started in London, cycling wasn't even popular and the amount of people out watching the race was incredible. So with the profile of cycling in the UK now, I think with the Tour de France starting there again it will be beyond words. I'm super excited, especially with the first stage finishing in my mother's hometown of Harrogate. The finishing straight is a straight I know very well. I spent a lot of time there as a child and hopefully it provides a bunch sprint. I'd like a chance to win the yellow jersey. I haven't yet worn that and it'd be nice to wear that again.

“I'm also super excited to have Mark Renshaw back for my leadouts,” Cavendish concluded, referring his being reunited with the Australian who played such a big part in his success at HTC-Highroad. “He's a really good friend of mine and one of the most gifted leadout men in the peloton.”

Besides Boonen and Cavendish, Lefevere has high hopes for many of Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s other stars in 2014.

“Tony Martin will be a guarantee for the team in terms of victories and quality of wins,” Lefevere said. “He showed this year he is one of the most consistent riders throughout the season. He will be there once again in 2014 to even improve an already impressive list of results.

“Of course we also have a few young guys who are growing up, such as Matteo Trentin and Michal Kwiatkowski, and we even have some newcomers we will count on to improve our visibility and our impact in cycling,” Lefevere added. “With Rigoberto Urán Urán we improve our potential for the grand tours, particularly this year at the Giro d'Italia. We can also count on riders like Wout Poels and Thomas De Gendt who will also be there and strong. Of course we also have Jan Bakelants, a guy that showed last year what he is able to do. We definitely have a good team built to perform all season long.”


Subscribe via RSS or daily email

  Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy  Copyright 2008-2013 by VeloNation LLC