OPQS to Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey
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Thursday 24 April 2014 - 16:09

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection for Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. The 1174 kilometer race, from April 27th to May 4th, will have several stages for the sprints, but also some chances for the climbers. 

The third stage will be the first chance for the GC riders to make their mark. The stage, from Finike to Elmali, finishes on Category 1 Gogubeli Pass. However, there is also a Category 1 climb, Kuruovabeli, at kilometer 104.8 of 185. Riders will have to get over that to be able to contend the finish on that challenging ascent. The fifth stage features some difficult climbing sections, though it may still end in a sprint finish in Turgutreis. Then there is Stage 6, which features a summit finish in Selcuk. The final two stages should be chances for the sprinters, giving the stage race a good mix of race scenarios for riders with different skills.

"The squad for the Tour of Turkey is built around Mark Cavendish," Explains Rik Van Slycke. "Mark has trained well in the last two weeks and he's ready to return. The Tour of Turkey is a great race to get back in to a racing rhythm. There will also be some arrivals suited for Mark and the team, which will be finales where we'll try to do well."

"For me this is the first time at the Tour of Turkey," Cavendish said. "I'm curious to find out about this race and at the same time to understand where I am in terms of physical condition after a good training period. On paper some of the stages are favourable to sprinters. We have an excellent team here and when we get the chance we will try to make it our race."

The brief Turkish stage race will also mark a return to racing for Gianni Meersman after the injury sustained in the Paris-Nice, which kept him away from the races for a few weeks.

"I can't wait to put on a number and get back in the race," explains Gianni Meersman. "It won't be easy in the beginning since I won't have my racing rhythm, but I'm sure that the will and enthusiasm to get back to racing will help me a lot."

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La Flèche Wallonne: Kwiatkowski Earns First Classics Podium Placing of Career
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Wednesday 23 April 2014 - 15:40

Young Polish Champion Michal Kwiatkowski continues to take important steps in his career development with Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team.

Kwiatkowski finished 3rd at 199km La Flèche Wallonne. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) went over the top of Kwiatkowski in the final meters of the Mur de Huy to win the race. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) was 2nd.

Kwiatkowski entered the final ascent of the Mur de Huy in superb position. Jeremy Roy (FDJ.fr) attacked before that and had a small gap, but he was reeled in with about 2.7km to go. OPQS had multiple riders near the front in anticipation of the final climb, including Wout Poels who eventually finished 12th.

Kwiatkowski, in one of the steepest sections of the final climb that can reach ramps of 26 percent, chose his moment to slightly accelerate his tempo on the front. He held his power as best he could, but Valverde was able to overtake before the finish line on the third and final time up the Mur de Huy.

Still, the 3rd place finish for Kwiatkowski was an important milestone. He has his first Classics podium of his career, and continues his consistency in some of the biggest races so far this year.

"I'm happy because Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, as a team, did a perfect race," Kwiatkowski said. "My teammates have been working hard for me and I have to thank them. I actually didn't make any mistakes on the final climb. I think I did it smart on the Mur de Huy. I started in front, on the bottom. Then I took my own speed, which was much better than last year because I lost a few positions on the two corners at about 450 meters to go. Today, I took my own speed and then sped up before the final. This final is also about tactics and I think I did that part correctly. But I just didn't have enough legs to just react to Valverde and Dan Martin. I'm actually happy considering this, I am getting better step-by-step. For sure I will start at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. In the past I didn't make any big results. I hope, with the way I have prepared, I can be in good form for that race as well. I think the Ardennes Classics was the first really big goal for the first part of the season. I'm excited about what I did at Amstel and what I did today, and think I can carry my good legs to the last of the three races this week. I'm satisfied I'm making improvements. I'm 23, I hope I can keep improving until I'm 30 or something. I'm trying to improve day-by-day."

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OPQS to La Flèche Wallonne
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Tuesday 22 April 2014 - 15:59

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will participate in La Flèche Wallonne, The 199 kilometer race includes 11 climbs, including three ascents of the Mur de Huy (9.3% average gradient, maximum ramp 17 percent) with the last being the final of the race.

"There is a change in the parcours where the race will start from Bastogne," Sport Director Davide Bramati said. "So, there will be a first part that is flat, and then you enter the final part with the 11 climbs. On the Mur de Huy, the second time we climb it could be a 'medial' place to attack as it is at about 25km left to go in the race. We will have to stay focused there and as for sure someone might try and take action well before the final trip up the Mur de Huy. As for our selection, we once again have a good team at the start. We changed a few elements if you compare it to Amstel where we have more climbers. Our road captain is Michal Kwiatkowski as he showed his condition with his top 5 finish at Amstel Gold Race. He was also 5th at this race in 2013. We will try to do something good again this year and be there for the finale in the second of the three Ardennes Classics."

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InCycle TV Amstel Gold Race 2014 Highlights
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Sunday 20 April 2014 - 17:49

inCycle TV, featured on Cyclingnews, recently posted a highlight video of Amstel Gold Race on Sunday

Amstel Gold Race: Kwiatkowski 5th in Race Decided on the Cauberg
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Sunday 20 April 2014 - 16:59

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Michal Kwiatkowski finished 5th at 251.4km Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. The race came down to the final ascent of the Cauberg, with 3 kilometers to go.

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) launced an acceleration no one could match, and he went on to win solo. Kwiatkowski was in good position heading into the climb after being led there by teammate Michal Golas, even marking accelerations from the beginning. He marked an attack of Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) just before Gilbert went up the road.

Kwiatkowski did his best to chase with a small group including Gerrans, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), and Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol), but they were unable to close the gap. Vanendert was 2nd, Gerrans was 3rd, and Valverde 4th.

Zdenek Stybar was also a protagonist for OPQS, going with an attack of Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) with 39km to go. A select group then formed as they pursued the original breakaway. However, most of those riders were absorbed by the peloton except for Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana). Those riders caught two left in the lead with about 10km left in the race, but those riders were all neutralized with 7km to go.

OPQS was also a team that helped chase down several breakaways.

Tony Martin suffered a crash, without serious consequences, after being last of the line in a wide road that suddenly narrowed. He touched wheels with Kwiatkowski and fell. He was able to keep riding quickly after suffering a mechanical, which required a new bike.

Wout Poels had a bike change on the Bemelerberg with about 8km to go in the race. That, and a bit of a bad day on the bike, put him out of contention for the final.

“There is something so good about this Cauberg,” Kwiatkowski said. “I think it’s something I need to discover. I think I would have been a little bit better further back in the group, maybe following a guy like Gilbert. He has so much experience. I think it would be a bit easier. I didn’t catch an attack from Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing Team) right away early on the climb. I was a little bit back. That surprised me, but I had just started behind my teammate Michal Golas on the Cauberg. I thought ‘why do I have to wait,’ as I thought after a couple of seconds later we’d be on the top. But on the bike, it’s a long way to the top. I went too early actually and I paid for it. But, I’m happy.”

“I had so much support from my teammates,” Kwiatkowski continued. “I have done this race twice now, and I have performed recon of the parcours. I'm learning year-by-year. I stayed in the race all day in the front, but maybe from this I learned I need to stay a little more in the back and realize when to use my energy. But the support of my teammates was great today regardless of my choice of position. Golas was really impressive today. He was able to chase down a breakaway, then he was still with me on to the bottom of the Cauberg. So I’m happy with what they did for me. I finished 5th and while I didn’t improve on last year’s 4th place, I made it a little bit better start. Because I could follow guys on the Cauberg and I couldn’t last year. I had maybe a little bit better of a sprint, but this year I took a different way. I did better but in the end I just couldn’t follow Gilbert. There is so much to learn and I for Fleche Wallone, I think this makes me confident. After Pais Vasco I took a different way to prepare for the Ardennes Classics. I’m happy my legs are OK and there are a few days of recovery. If you have good legs, you can be there. I showed today they are there. I’m looking forward to the next two races.” 

“Actually I think I did a good race,” Jan Bakelants said. “In the second to last climb I helped to close the gap on the breakaway. It cost me some energy and at the foot of the Cauberg I wasn't well placed. In any case I'm in good condition and on Wednesday I will be there again to try to do my best. "

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