Chicchi, Devenyns, Stauff helping Quick Step rebound from difficult Tour de France
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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chicchi, Devenyns, Stauff helping Quick Step rebound from difficult Tour de France

by Kyle Moore at 6:02 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Poland
Belgian team hoping for better fortunes in second half of season

Francesco ChicchiFrancesco Chicci (Quick Step) finished third in today’s first stage of the Tour of Poland, continuing a run of positive results for his Belgian team as it tries to bounce back from a forgettable Tour de France.

Quick Step went to Poland with the primary objective of getting their star, Tom Boonen, a stage win. It remained their goal today, but Boonen encountered some problems in the tense, chaotic finish. Many teams are racing in Poland with talented, but raw young sprinters, and it showed in an eventful finale to stage one.

In the closing meters, Boonen was boxed in and could not reach full speed. He eventually crossed the line in 15th place. Chicchi was more pleased with his result, though even he indicated that the conditions on the final straight were less than ideal.

“I made a good sprint,” he said at the finish. “Unfortunately I got a bit shut out and couldn’t really make my move.”

With so many trying to contest the win, the final kilometre was a bit tight. Rabobank tried to lead out Michael Matthews, Liquigas-Cannondale had Peter Sagan in the mix, and HTC-Highroad had John Degenkolb. In the end, no one was able to come around German Marcel Kittel of Skil-Shimano. Kittel used a final lead-out of his own and finished his sprint in style, with time for a victory salute.

“I don’t think I could have beaten Kittel,” Chicchi concluded. “Marcel really showed rare power in his sprint. Perhaps I could have gotten second [without getting boxed in]. Regardless, I feel good and I hope I can improve on this third place in the coming stages.”

Marc De Maar also brought a positive light to his Quick Step squad, as he made his debut in the Curaçao road national champion’s jersey in Poland. De Maar will look to finish well overall when the route gets hilly in later stages.

“Stages five and six will decide the classification, and they are on routes that suit my skills,” he explained after stage one. “I just got back from a high altitude training camp, and I hope I can figure in as a major player. This race marks the opening of my schedule for the second part of the season,” he stated.

Chicci was one of several Quick Step riders to pick up quality finishes over the weekend. Dries Devenyns was fifth in yesterday’s Clasica San Sebastian, which he picked up coming off of a solid Tour de France. And Andreas Stauff, wearing a German national jersey, finished third in today’s Sparkassen Giro Bochum.


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