Belgian Quick Step team for 2010 presented
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Quick Step team for 2010 presented

by Bjorn Haake at 11:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

The Quick Step team officially presented its riders today to the public in Kortrijk, Belgium. In addition to retaining 24 riders, Quick Step also hired three new ones in an attempt to be competitive in just about any race.

With riders like Tom Boonen, Stijn Devolder and Sylvain Chavanel the team will once again go all out at the Classics. The medium term plan is to also go to the Grand Tours with a contender. "We had hoped to get a top guy for the Grand Tours," Quick Step CEO Frans de Cock said at the presentation, according to Sportwereld. But the attempt to hire Alberto Contador, who ultimately stayed with Astana, failed. "We are working on a rider for the Tours next year," De Cock said.

But there are still plenty of races to shine for the Belgian team, which hopes to top its 29 victories from last season.

Once again, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix are on the top of the list. Boonen can equal Roger de Vlaeminck's four wins this year. "I am always especially motivated [for the Classics] and I work really hard for that," said Boonen, who wore his Belgian Champion outfit.

The national championships are not a priority for him, but the World Championships make the short list. "Firstly, I go with 100 percent to the Classics, then come the Tour, the Vuelta and the Worlds."

Boonen is not afraid of being a marked man in the Classics. "With riders like Stijn Devolder and Sylvain Chavanel we have others who can compete for the win," Boonen said.

Devolder also for the Classics

Kortrijk native Devolder is not giving too much thought for the Tour de France this year. He concentrated on the race last year, but failed (83rd). His best place in a Grand Tour rests at an 11th place in the 2006 Vuelta a España.

"I will try to look out for the one-day races in a more relaxed manner. Last year I talked to ambitiously about the Tour, but I learned my lesson. If I am in good shape and mentally ready I may well ride it, but this remains to be determined," Devolder said.

Instead, he hopes to become only the second rider to win three consecutive Tours of Flanders. "The Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix rest the two most important races for me. I strongly believe I can win the Ronde for a third time, but it doesn't have to be this year," Devolder said.

Chavanel hopes to go past domestique in Classics

Chavanel moved to Quick Step in 2009, after having won classics like Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Brabantse Pijl in 2008. The first year he was there to help Boonen and Devolder win races. This year, he may also want his chance in the big Classics, but has other objectives as well.

"I am already focused on Paris-Nice," he said according to AFP. "I found out the route yesterday, I really like it." He wants to do better than his third place overall last year.

"Afterwards, there are the Classics. Last year I had the impression I could win a big one. The Tour of Flanders makes me dream - the ambiance, its history... But I know that Boonen and Devolder want to also win it. I am a little bit the third man here. The circumstances have to be right for me."

Chavanel will also do Paris-Roubaix, but gives himself less chances. " Patrick Lefevere also wants me to see in the Ardennes Classics. That depends on my form, last year I wasn't very fresh in the beginning of June, since I rode so much in the spring."

Chavanel added that he liked riding on a team like Quick Step. "We have strategies at the start of each race, no improvising. I have rarely known anything like that, it is very nice."

Chavanel made it clear that he needs to be in top form in July as well. "The Tour stays in the center, especially as a Frenchman. I want to show myself."

He was a bit annoyed that in last year's race he didn't get good marks from the press. "It is true, I attacked less and I was less visible. But I came close to a stage victory [stage 13, where he finished fourth, after a hunger ended his chase on stage winner Heinrich Haussler - ed.] and I finished 20th overall, my best results so far."

Lefevere sees balanced team

Patrick Lefevere hopes to avoid the up and down from last year and keep the team at a steady level. "We had a great spring with wins by Devolder in the Ronde and Boonen in Paris-Roubaix," he said to Sportwereld. "But then we had an especially difficult Tour, where we couldn't do anything. After the Tour we won the Clasica San Sebastian thanks to [Carlos] Barredo."

But Lefevere is not just looking to the old guard and hopes to have the youngsters step up a notch. "Some one like Kevin Seeldraeyers is a racer in full development. He is not just a climber, he is much more than that. This year put our hope on him for the Tour, Kevin should be positively surprising us," Lefevere said.

Eddy Merckx was in attendance and for good reason. He now provides the bikes for the team. "Everything had to go real fast in the pre-season, but from the racers I hear only positive feedback," Merckx said. "That should be nice when Quick Step wins a Classic!"

The team 2010

Carlos Barredo (Spa), Tom Boonen (Bel), Dario Cataldo (Ita), Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), Kevin de Weert (Bel), Dries Devenyns (Bel), Stijn Devolder (Bel), Addy Engels (Ned), Mauro Facci (Ita), Kurt Hovelijnck (Bel), Kevin Hulsmans (Bel), Andrei Kunitski (Blr), Davide Malacarne (Ita), Jérôme Pineau (Fra), Francesco Reda (Ita), Branislau Samoilau (Blr), Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel), Matteo Tossato (Ita), Jurgen Van de Walle (Bel), Kevin Van Impe (Bel), Thomas Vedel Kvist (Den), Marco Velo (Ita), Wouter Weylandt (Bel), Maarten Wynants (Bel)

New to the team: Iljo Keisse (Bel/Saey-Deschacht), Nikolas Maes (Bel/Topsport Vlaanderen), Andreas Stauff (Ger/Team Kuota Senges)

Teammanager: Patrick Lefevere (Bel)
Sports directors: Wilfried Peeters (Bel), Rik Van Slycke (Bel), Davide Bramati (Ita), Rik Verbrugghe (Bel)
Technical director: Luca Guercilena (Ita)


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