Brabantse Pijl: Vermote Top 10, Four OPQS in Top 20
Wednesday 16 April 2014 - 18:33

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Julien Vermote finished 8th in the sprint finale of 203.1km Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday. He and OPQS riders Pieter Serry, Wout Poels, and Julien Alaphilippe were all members of at least one chase or lead group in the final kilometers of the race.

Serry was the only rider of OPQS who remained in a chase group that eventually becams the race leaders, which were caught with 10.8km to go after rider Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) bridged.

Despite attack after attack, including a couple accelerations from Poels inside the final few kilometers, and an attack of Vermote inside the last kilometer, there was a sprint out of a completely splintered peloton. Gilbert won the race with a bike throw. Michael Matthews (ORICA-GreenEDGE) was 2nd, and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) was 3rd.

OPQS riders Alaphilippe, Poels, and Serry finished 14th, 15th, and 16th. 

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OPQS to Amstel Gold Race
Wednesday 16 April 2014 - 15:35

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection for Amstel Gold Race, a 251.4km race which opens the Ardennes Classics, on Sunday, April 20th. The race includes three circuits on the Cauberg.

OPQS rider Michal Kwiatkowski finished 4th in Amstel Gold Race in 2013. The team will head into the first of three Ardennes Classics races with good momentum, having won Paris-Roubaix on Sunday to close the Cobblestone Classics.

"After the success of Sunday at the biggest monument of cycling, we have selected a team once again structured to do well," Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. "Kwiatkowski was 4th last year and is in a good moment of his season. With Kwiatkowski the team can also count on a guy like Wout Poels, the queen stage winner of Pais Vasco. We did really well at Pais Vasco as a team last week, and therefore it is good for the cohesion of the unit that we also selected Jan Bakelants, and Tony Martin — who is returning to the Classics after a few years away — as well as Pieter Serry and Michal Golas. These are all consistent riders who know to perform well in a one-day race like this, and their recent performances give us much to be excited about. Of course, there is also Zdenek Stybar. He is the lone rider who participated in the cobblestone classics. He likes this race and the parcours. It's kind of like a Tour of Flanders with hills, but without the cobbled sections. So, it can fit his skills. Last, but not least, there is Julian Alaphilippe. The young French rider has been on the podium multiple times already in his first season as a professional, and he will be able to learn from the experienced guys how to also ride the one-day races. We will do our best for a good result."

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OPQS to Brabantse Pijl
Tuesday 15 April 2014 - 16:52

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will participate in 2014 Brabantse Pijl, a 203 kilometer race to launch the second part of Spring Classics season, on Wednesday.

The course includes even climbs in 133 kilometers, followed by a three lap circuit with five climbs each lap.

OPQS hopes to continue the momentum of the first half of the Spring Classics season, as they were factors in many of the races and also were victorious at Paris-Roubaix.

At Brabantse Pijl, OPQS has a selection that is a mix of experienced riders and new ones, including Petr Vakoc and Julian Alaphilippe. They have a chance to learn at one of the most important Belgian races on the calendar.

In the line up there are also riders such as Jan Bakelants, Wout Poels, Pieter Serry, and Julien Vermote, that were protagonists in the recent Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. Poels won also the Queen stage.

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Paris-Roubaix: Niki Terpstra Wins Cycling's Biggest Monument Solo!
Sunday 13 April 2014 - 16:42

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Niki Terpstra won the biggest race of his career — the most prestigious monument of cycling — in commanding fashion. He earned a Paris-Roubaix solo victory on Sunday.

With three OPQS riders in an 11 rider select group approaching 6 kilometers to go, including Tom Boonen and Zdenek Stybar, Terpstra decided to take matters into his own hands. The group included almost all of the race favorites including Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin ProCycling), and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

It looked to be very close in the final kilometers. Terpstra's gap was down to less than 9" inside 4.5km to go. However, Terpstra's teammates helped to control the pace of the chasing group behind, and he continued to go full gas. As a result of his fantastic effort on a perfectly timed attack, he reached the Roubaix velodrome with a gap between 16 and 20 seconds.

Terpstra still looked behind him before celebrating during the bell lap, but had plenty of time to raise his arms in celebration for the 24th (22nd road) victory for OPQS, in three disciplines, in 2014. Stybar finished 5th and Boonen 10th. Terpstra is now ranked 3rd in the UCI WorldTour Individual Classification with 200 points, and OPQS has further solidified their 1st place UCI WorldTour team ranking with 543 points.

Boonen was a major factor in the success of OPQS. He attacked with about 64 kilometers to go, and that was the major animation of the race. A selection of riders slowly bridged to his group as the race pressed on. One rider included Peter Sagan. Sagan tried his best to attack out of a new select group formation with more than 20 kilometers to go, but the pace of the chase group behind him was too much and he was caught with 15.3km to go by Cancellara, Vanmarcke, OPQS rider Zdenek Stybar, and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano). Boonen was behind with Terpstra.

That group caught the leaders inside the final 10 kilometers, and it was up to that very powerful group to decide who would win Paris-Roubaix. OPQS had the advantage with three riders present.

It was Terpstra who decided to not give any other riders a chance, and his gamble proved to be the right one as he went on to victory.

"I feel happy, but really tired," Niki Terpstra said with a laugh. "When we came together in the last cobblestone section — at the end of the cobblestones — Wilfried Peeters told us if we go for the sprint we go with Tom. But, if you can attack, it's always good to open the final. So it was up to me and Zdenek to attack and they know I like to do it. So, 20 seconds later I attacked. It was the good one. When I looked behind me I saw there was a gap, so it was just full gas to the finish line. Don't look back, because that doesn't help. They will come back anyway if you check or not. Then, when I was crossing the finish line, it was just really special. I'm so satisfied. Finally I won a big one. We had a healthy, comfortable pressure from within the team to perform. The kind that motivates us to do well. We won a lot of races but not a big one yet. We wanted to prove we can win a big one. Today we really proved we are a strong team that can also win the biggest races. As for me, two years ago I was 5th, and last year I was 3rd. If you can finish in the top 10 here you can also, with a bit of luck, win it. Last year I was really close and this year I made it. Since I was a little child and I started cycling, Paris-Roubaix was the most special race for me. Now I won it. It's a dream come true. Paris-Roubaix is a crazy race, old fashioned, but that's why it's special and why I love it that much. It was really my lucky day. I think we're going to have a nice dinner with the team tonight to celebrate this great victory, and then I will enjoy my time at home this week with my family."

"It's an improvement," Stybar said of his 5th place finish. "I felt better than last year which is important for me. Of course I am happy the team has won after the perfect timing of Niki's attack. I think as a team we're really strong, but I think we proved that, as a team, we can also win. It was not an easy race today with a headwind. Once you go on the head of the group it kills you. It was really hard, but the final results count. At the crucial points I was lucky, and other times it was about important decisions. I was in the crash after Arenberg. I was lucky it was without any consequences for me or my bike. Then, in the final kilometers, I was in the breakaway with just Sagan, Degenkolb, Vanmarcke, and Cancellara. I didn't try to collaborate as I knew Tom and Niki were chasing our group. With Sagan and Degenkolb, it would be hard to go to the line with them. So I waited to work with my teammates, and it worked out for the team. We've had a good Spring Classics season, but this really puts the finishing touches when you win Paris-Roubaix."

"I'm happy with the feeling I had and the fighting spirit I displayed," Boonen said. "I'm of course happy that we won in the end, but I of course wasn't doing all the efforts to get 10th place, I was doing them to win the race. I had a lot of bad luck today. But, I managed to get back in front on time, every time. Then, we were on the front with five or six guys and I thought 'OK, it's a good move," but with the headwind it was hard to motivate people to ride. There were two or three guys who didn't have to ride and maybe some who could have collaborated better. It was just me and Geraint Thomas going hard to stay in front. Then in the final when they came back with us and Sep Vanmarcke went with Fabian, I went straight away and Lars Boom crashed in front of me. So, I lost 100 meters. Then I couldn't find my pedal on the cobblestones, it just kept turning. But I managed to get back in the front with Niki and he launched an attack with six kilometers and he managed to win the race. So, I'm happy for Niki. I'm very happy. As I said a couple days ago, if someone else on the team wins besides me today I will be excited as if I had won the race myself."

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Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 6 ITT: Martin Wins, Kwiatkowski on Stage and GC Podium!
Saturday 12 April 2014 - 17:11

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team earned road wins 20 and 21 on the same day. Shortly after Alessandro Petacchi won the bunch sprint at GP Cerami, Tony Martin won the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 6 ITT with a time of 38 minutes and 33 seconds.

In addition to the victory of the three-time UCI World TT Champion, Michal Kwiatkowski finished 3rd in the stage (+15"), and moved himself up to a 2nd place on the GC podium by his time gap on Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and several other riders.

The Polish Champion finished in 3rd on almost every stage at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. On Saturday, he finished behind his teammate and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), who won the overall classification by placing 2nd in the stage (+7"). Wout Poels, who won Stage 4 solo, also finished 10th in the GC. Kwiatkowski was able to win the points jersey (81 points) by his performance at the time trial. He also won the jersey for best young rider.

Tony Martin won two stages at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, and this was his first ITT of the season.

"During this race I had two victories, and the team won three stages out of six," Martin said. "It's really a great performance for us. Today, the TT parcours wasn't really 100 percent for my skills. There were two climbs. But we did it already during yesterday's stage, so I knew the climbs already. This morning I was really motivated. I went full gas and think I did a really good performance. I even did 100km/h maximum speed on the downhill. I closed this week with two victories and think I did a good job for the team. I had good legs, and a good feeling the entire week. That's important for me also with my morale. I think with this team there is also a great, big spirit, and this spirit sometimes gives you an extra push to perform well. This is a good moment in my career as I really got the best out of it. My next races will be the Ardennes Classics. I have been looking forward to this race as it's been a long time, a few years since I raced a Classic. I am in good condition and I hope to give a good performance and be useful for the team."

"I'm really happy," Poels said. "This was a week I will never forget. I won the queen stage, I was 10th in the GC, and I really defended myself today in the time trial. It's a nice way to end the race. I'm happy to ride for this team. I can see the trust around me. We have a bunch of good riders who can go for their own ambitions, but also work hard for their teammates. I am really proud and looking forward to the next races. I will ride Brabantse Pijl and the three Ardennes Classics. Those races suit my skills. I hope to do the best I can."

"This particular result is something really special for me." Kwiatkowski said. "I'm really happy about this performance. I don't think I could finish any better as Contador was really strong. I did the best I can do for this race. I rode the entire week playing tactics a bit with Poels. I think in my learning process this race was really important because I learned how to pace myself. I learned a lot during Tirreno-Adriatico how to manage these situations. Here, I took it easy, tried to stay cool, and I was more or less positioned well the entire week. That is really important for my growth as a rider.  As for the TT, I never went over my limit. I spread the effort evenly during the entire race. To me it was helpful to have Davide Bramati behind me and also to know the time of Tony. It helped me to distribute my effort correctly. Also, I have to say that as usual I had a great bike with my Specialized Shiv. When I went on the downhill I went really fast, without problems, because I trusted my bike. I am really so confident in my bike I can go full gas on descents and corners without problems."

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