OPQS to Giro d’Italia
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection for the first grand tour of 2014, the Giro d’Italia. The Giro takes place from May 9th until June 1st.
Davide Bramati and Rik Van Slycke will be in the team car for OPQS. Tom Steels will also be present in the first week of racing to help the team with his experience with those kinds of stages.
“For the team it will be a kind of milestone,” Sport Director Davide Bramati. “For the first time in years, the team will be present with ambitions to do well in the GC and support a rider who was already on the podium last year: Rigoberto Uran. Even our approach to the race has changed compared to prior years. We did some recon on the key stages and the riders that have to stay near Uran did a unique race program to be in top condition for this race. Everyone knows the goal which is to try to do well with Uran and give him full support to fight for a top GC place in the last week of the Giro. The team is strong and is complete. We have a group of climbers such as Serge Pauwels, Gianluca Brambilla, Wout Poels, and Pieter Serry, who will have the task of escorting Uran in the high mountains. We have great, quality workers like Iljo Keisse and Julien Vermote for the flat stages. Then we have Alessandro Petacchi, who can utilize his experience for the service of the team and maybe do something good in the sprints. Then we also have Thomas De Gendt. He was on the podium in 2012. He knows the race, which is important and can be helpful for Uran for the race.”
The 3,449.9km stage race includes two ITTs, one TTT, eight sprint stages, one medium mountain stage without a summit finish and four medium mountain stages with a summit finish, and five high mountain stages with a summit finish.
“The first stages in Ireland it will be important to start well,” Bramati said. “We will have to pay attention to the wind and the nervousness. In the first days there is always a bit of chaos. The roads will be narrow in Ireland, so we have to be focused. The stages in Italy will have to be handled day-by-day with a goal to be present in the last week. Starting with the weekend before the second week of racing, every day will be difficult. We will have five high mountain stages with summit finishes in the last eight stages. We will have the 26.8km individual time trial on the Cima Grappa, which is the 18th stage. So, really, it’s a tough week. The team has to be there to do well in that last week. Every day can include a key moment for the overall. We have to be consistent, there is no room for an off-day in terms of performance because it will be too difficult to recover from with such a challenging route.”
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
Thomas De Gendt (BEL)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Serge Pauwels (BEL)
Alessandro Petacchi (ITA)
Wout Poels (NED)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL)
Julien Vermote (BEL)
Sports Director Davide Bramati (ITA):
Tom Steels (BEL)
Rik van Slycke (BEL)