All photos: “© OPQS / Tim de Waele”
For the second consecutive year the Omega Pharma – Quick Step team has turned the traditonal team launch on its ear. Renting out the Eddy Merckx Velodrome in Gent, the team rides out in front of 1700 fans and a sold out arena. Each rider is introduced as they ride laps on the boards. When the formalities are done the team holds a number of races for the fans, with Boonen and Cavendish going head to head behind the derny. Both riders commented on the season to come.
“I’m really happy to start my season off with this kind of event following my struggles of last year,” OPQS team leader Tom Boonen said. “I’m in shape as I have been previous years and am doing great. I had a smile on my face the entire time during this presentation for the public. I even won an event, which was a nice touch for me. This does not feel like an obligatory show for the sponsors and fans. I really enjoyed doing this in front of such an impressive crowd. Sometimes team presentations can be boring, but this has been far from it. For us, the fans, the media, the VIPS, and everyone else here it was super fun.”
“The team is looking brilliant across all aspects of cycling,” Cavendish said. “The grand tours, for example the Tour de France we’re going to go and win stages. Rigoberto Uran is here and he will be the guy at the Giro for the hilly stages and maybe even the hilly Classics. Then, of course, Tom’s back and in incredible condition for the northern Classics this year. We’ve also got World Champion Tony Martin in superb form. Then finally we’re the two-time defending World Team Time Trial Champions. It’s an incredible, formidable lineup this year and I’m so excited to be starting as part of this team in my second year.”