Omega Pharma – Quick-Step announces it has extended its contract with Pieter Serry. The 25-year-old Belgian climber has been on the team OPQS roster since last season, and now he will continue riding with the team for the next two seasons (2015 & 2016).
"Pieter is an athlete I already followed with interest since before he arrived in our team's orbit" OPQS Ceo Patrick Lefevere said. "Last year he stood out for some good performances and especially for the brilliant 7th and 8th places earned respectively at the Giro di Lombardia and in the Clasica San Sebastian, which are two of the hardest classics on the cycling scene. Pieter is an excellent climber and considering his young age he has all the cards he needs to further improve and become an important player in the group that we're building for the stage races and which actually revolves around Uran and Kwiatkowski."
"I feel comfortable on the team, here everything is really well organized and professional but at the same time there is a genuine feeling to the human relationships that make me happy to be a part of this group" Serry said. "We are all friends and we have a lot of respect for each other. I really appreciate the fact that the management believes in me and I can't wait to repay them with great performances. In the near future I aim to further improve, especially on climbs, and become a man to count on for our GC guys, dreaming of one day being able to also go for an important result."
OPQS has officially announced Mark Cavendish's schedule for the next several weeks. Cavendish will ride in the Tour du Poitou Charentes (26th-29th August) followed by the Tour of Britain (7th-14th September).
"Mark has proven that he's worked very hard since his crash at the Tour de France," explains Rolf Aldag. "Just six weeks after his injury, he took part in the Tour de l'Ain and worked as an important supporting rider to his teammates, even though obviously he is understandably not yet back to 100% condition. We really appreciated Mark's behaviour and his desire to get back into racing as soon as possible. Now the Team believe that Mark needs a further intermediate step, which will be the Poitou Charents, in order get some more competition kilometers into his legs and continue his progress of gradual re-entry into competition. After the short French stage race, the plan is for Mark to line up for the start of the Tour of Britain with the aim of definitively rediscovering his race feeling by competing and trying to get good results."
"After the injury both myself and the Team set a goal to get slowly back into a race environment at the Tour de l'Ain which I've now done." Cavendish said, "It was not an easy race for me because naturally my shoulder was still bothering me a little as it continues to get stronger each day. Now the next step is another shorter stage race at Poitou Charents. We will continue to monitor my condition week by week; as things stand it's impossible to know how I'll be feeling each week considering the severity of the injury and the accelerated recovery time. One thing is for sure, I would like to be at the start for the Tour of Britain for another chance to race in front of British fans again this year which holds lots of fond memories. My goal there will be to do the best I possibly can depending on the condition I'm in."
OPQS has officially announced the squad that will take part in La Vuelta a España. There are 21 stages covering 3239.9km from August 23rd until September 14th. The race is divided into five flat stages, 13 medium and high mountain stages, and two individual time trials. There is also a 12.6km team time trial to open the race. The individual time trials are during stages 10 and 21, at 36.7km and 9.7km in respective distances.
"The team is built up around Rigoberto Uran, who will get full support from his teammates," Sport & Development Manager Rolf Aldag said. "During the Giro d'Italia Rigoberto proved he has the skills for the major tours, so he deserves the support of the team. His approach to the race was similar to the one set in motion for the Giro d'Italia. Some of the guys from the team like Wout Poels, Gianluca Brambilla, and Pieter Serry already have experience in major tours next to Uran. Backing them up, the squad will be able to count on Carlos Verona, akin his debut in his first big tour, and also Martin Velits and Nikolas Maes. These three riders are all guarantees in terms of team support and rapport. The squad will be completed by Tom Boonen and Tony Martin. Tom's leadership will be an important figure in the flat stages and in bunch sprint arrivals in which we want to stand out with his dashes. La Vuelta will also be important for him as he prepares for the Worlds. Tony will make La Vuelta an important part of his World Championship build up. He will target the opening team time trial and the long individual time trial to test his shape. In the other stages he will serve as support in the overall team strategy. In general the team is well balanced, with riders who will be able to support Uran in every racing situation. "more information
OPQS was determined for a race victory at the 183.4km Eneco Tour Stage 7 on Sunday, putting three riders in a 20-rider breakaway that ultimately decided the hilly stage from Riemst to Sittard-Geleen.
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck took his chance with 34km to go, attacking out of the group and immediately getting a gap. Matteo Trentin and Julien Vermote were there in the group behind in case his risk was unsuccessful. However, his risk came with the ultimate reward: A solo victory that gave him the first UCI WorldTour win of his career. He crossed the line 46" ahead of the chase group with his teammates.
OPQS wasn't done, however. Matteo Trentin launched a well-timed sprint for 2nd, and Julien Vermote finished 4th. Race tactics of the team were executed to perfection.
The Belgian rider's win was the 56th overall (54th road) for OPQS in 2014.
"I knew what I was getting into, and that it was far from the finish," Van Keirsbulck said. "But the wind suits me, so that's why I decided to go and time trial to the line. This is by far the most beautiful win of my career. I never expected I could get a WorldTour win this year, which makes this special. After Paris-Roubaix I had a hard time finding my rhythm again. This win is everything for me as a Belgian guy in a race like this. It's really important for my morale. I'm also so happy, after Styby's crash, to end this Eneco Tour with a positive vibe. I hope he knows we wanted a win for him here and we got it. Even better, we had three guys in the top five. I'd like to thank Julien and Matteo for working to protect my advantage in the chase group behind. It was an amazing day for the whole team and I've never been prouder to wear the colors of OPQS."
Niki Terpstra, as consequence of improper behavior during the race, was disqualified.
"I'm sorry for what I did," Terpstra said. "I don't know who I was in that moment. I want to apologize first to Wynants and Team Belkin, because I put other riders in jeopardy with my actions and it is something you simply don't do in the peloton. But I want to also apologize to my team and the guys who were specifically here racing at the Eneco Tour. They worked hard for me all week and then I ruined their effort with this foolish action. I take full responsibility for my behavior. Everybody knows I'm a guy with a lot of charisma, but it does not turn into abrasive behavior on the bike that can harm others. Today was out of character. I'll take this as an important lesson on how to handle situations the right way for the sake of myself, my team, other teams in the peloton, and cycling in general including the fans."more information
OPQS rider Niki Terpstra stayed with a select group going into the final kilometers of 173.3km Eneco Tour Stage 6 on Saturday, and moved into 7th in the GC after finishing 8th in the stage.
The undulating parcours left the peloton in bits once again, and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) was able to win solo out of the chaos. Lars Boom (Belkin) finished 2nd, 50" down, and Greg Van Avermat crossed the line in 3rd a couple seconds later.
A final, 183.4km Stage remains on Sunday. Expect the race to be highly animated again, with 17 different punchy climbs, with several having to be passed more than once.
"Things went really well for me today," Terpstra said. "It was a really hard stage with all these hills. But I survived really well in the front group. That was the goal for today. I made it and I moved up two positions in the GC, so I'm satisfied. Tomorrow we are in Holland. It's a race that suits me well. For the GC I will for sure defend my placement in the top 10, but maybe we can also go for a good result in the stage."
Tom Boonen is getting back into the race rhythm, having to mentally adjust to the loss of Zdenek Stybar due to a bad crash earlier in the stage race.
"I had good legs yesterday, but I really needed to find my race focus back after Stybar's crash," Boonen said. "That really played in my head and I want to end this race with a positive mind. But today I felt good. I jumped two times and then I was in the breakaway, which was good for my morale. The climbs where the parcours went on today were consistently steep. This is not really my kind of parcours, but I'm happy about my day. I know this parcours as I've trained here for about 20 years."