Team Quick Step prepares for 'Spring Cleaning'
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Team Quick Step prepares for 'Spring Cleaning'

by Steve Jones at 1:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics

With the Spring Classics just around the corner, January is an extremely important month of training for the Quick Step team. Team manager Patrick Lefevere has a rich history in the Spring, directing his squad to five Tour of Flanders wins in the last decade, and an incredible eight wins in Paris-Roubaix in the last 15-years. The team is preparing to head to their annual training camp in Calpe, Spain from the 11th until the 21st of January, so they can continue their streak of a successful "Spring Cleaning" in 2010.

“On the first day of the training camp we will be concentrating on final tests that will evaluate each athlete’s physiological conditions; after this we will then be able to define personalised training programmes for each athlete with the aim of preparing them in the best possible way for them to achieve their goals," explained the team’s Sporting Manager Luca Guercilena.

Quick Step will be defending the 2009 wins of co-leaders Stijn Devolder and Tom Boonen in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix respectively, as they both try to make it three in a row. This year Boonen will try to equal compatriot Roger De Vlaeminck's record of four wins in the "Hell of the North". Boonen, 29, has said his goal is to surpass De Vlaeminck's 33-year-old feat.

Devolder will see some significant changes to the finish in the Tour of Flanders with the elimination of his launching pad for victory in the previous two years, the Eikenmolen climb. With 16 kilometers to go, the Muur - Kappelmuur will most likely bring the decision this year, unless a team manages to keep the front group together towards the 15th and final climb of the Bosberg. He will opt to stay in Belgium to train telling, "I will be away from home enough this year," adding that he feels staying at home will help toughen him up for the Spring campaign.

Guercilena also knows the importance of cohesiveness on the team, which will also be a focus at the camp. "At the same time we will also be going over and trying out a few strategic and tactical situations typical of the final sprints in order to bring the team together working as one in preparation for the first races of the season”.

The team will be searching for a way to put Boonen in a winning position against Columbia-HTC's powerhouse sprinter Mark Cavendish. The Belgian had a dismal Tour de France against Cavendish in 2009, and with the new crop of young sprinters coming of age, he's said this could be his last year to focus on that aspect of his riding. He envisions being more of a time trialist, similar in focus to Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara, who targets both one-day races and races against the clock.

The Team’s newest arrival Iljo Keisse will be taking part in 6 Days races at Rotterdam and Bremen during the camp. However, he will be present at the Official Team Presentation on January 22nd during Velo Follies event. The Santos Tour Down Under team will also miss the training camp and presentation.


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