Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Guillaume Van Keirsbulck was the top finisher in the 7km Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen prologue on Friday, placing 7th with a time of 8 minutes and 9 seconds.
Gert Joeaar (Cofidis) won the prologue with a time of 7'53", as one of the last riders to cross the finish line. Johan Le Bon (FDJ) was 2nd, and Kristof Vandewalle (Trek Factory Racing) was 3rd.
OPQS rider Thomas De Gendt was also 11th, with a time of 8'11".
OPQS looks next to a 182.9km Stage 1 on Saturday.more information
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team will be busy this weekend with races in three different countries: Belgium, Italy, and France.
The first race is the Belgian race Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, from March 7th until March 9th. OPQS has a good tradition at this race, with both stage and overall winners in the past. An OPQS rider won the overall in both 2012 and 2013, and also had a rider in 3rd overall for the 2013 edition.
"We have once again a good team, the same as the one that was a protagonist at Le Samyn," Sport Director Rik Van Slycke said. "They are guys who can do well on these Belgian parcours, who are happy to ride there and go for a good result."
On Saturday, there will be racing in Italy at Strade Bianche. The 197km race is becoming an important appointment on the race schedule, with teams on the start list from five different continents. It is far from easy, as the race includes 50km of gravel roads broken into 10 segments, including some with five star difficulty.
"This is a race that is becoming more and more important in the world of cycling," Sport Director Davide Bramati said. "It's become a kind of Italian Classic. As for OPQS, we are returning after some years of not participating in the race. The parcours has changed, so tomorrow we will recon the last 50km of the race with our guys. We want to have a look and be prepared for the race on Saturday. It's a very professional race and we have also good riders for this kind of difficult course. Michal Kwiatkowski, Michal Golas, and Matteo Trentin are riders that are used to difficult roads and can be present to try and do well."
Finally, Sunday is the start of Paris-Nice, The 72nd edition, from March 9th until March 16th, is the first European UCI WorldTour race of the season.
"This year's route doesn't present a time trial, so it will probably be a more open race," Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. "There will be at the beginning a few stages suited for sprinters and riders who can defend themselves on the small climbs. We can count on Tom Boonen and Gianni Meersman for these kinds of races. Going into the weekend, from Friday into Saturday, it will be more difficult. Stage six is a long stage of 221.5km, and in the final there is the 8.2 kilometer, Category 1 Col de Bourigaille to ascend at kilometer 202.5, followed by the finishing Category 2 climb on Fayence . Even the seventh stage, with several categorized climbs from kilometer 49 to kilometer 131 out of 195.5 kilometers, will be very nervous. We will end the race with a really short 128 kilometer stage, but it is one which includes the Category 1 Col d'Eze late in the race as it is tradition. We will see what we can do. Our goal is to try and win a stage and try to get a good classification with riders like Jan Bakelants and Zdenek Stybar, to try and get a few WorldTour points."
Paris-Nice Selection available by clicking "More Info"more information
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Rigoberto Uran is getting an early start on preparation for the 2014 Giro d'Italia. The Colombian rider, together with OPQS trainer Koen Pelgrim, Sport Director Davide Bramati, performed reconnaissance of the 41.9km Stage 12 ITT on Wednesday., It's a beautiful parcours surrounded by Langhe Wineyards between Barbaresco and Barolo. Barbaresco and Barolo are the two most renowned wines in Italy.
Uran was also followed by the staff of partner Specialized, who collected some important data to analyze the TT position and performance of Uran.
"The parcours is really nice, but it is far from easy," Uran said. "It's is difficult. I think it was very important to come here and discover the details of this course. There are two or three small climbs that can make the difference. As for me, this kind of profile is better than a completely flat time trial. Also, the downhill sections are a bit technical. So, it will be important to stay focused and not make a mistake. I am glad I saw all of this in advance."
Uran was also scheduled to perform reconnaissance of the Oropa climb that is featured in Stage 14, but there was no time.
"For sure in the next weeks we will go to also check the finale on Montecampione, which is featured on the 15th stage," Bramati said. "We will also examine closer the time trial of Stage 19, which is 26.8km from Bassano Del Grappa to Cima Grappa. We are working hard to get prepared in advance for this 96th edition of the Giro."more information
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team did its best to animate yet another Belgian race. This time, it was 195.9km Le Samyn on Wednesday. At one point OPQS had six riders out of 12 up the road, but the move came back with about 60km remaining in the race.
Thomas De Gendt was next to attack with one other rider, Alex Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale). They had more than 40" of a gap with 36.6km to go, but the gap dropped to 19" with about 25km left in the race. The duo were caught with 22km to go. Eventually several groups went up the road to form a breakaway of 10, but even that escape was brought back with just a few kilometers remaining. One last rider was reeled in as the sprint approached.
OPQS rider Andrew Fenn was the top OPQS finisher in 42nd place.more information
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