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"Obviously the Tour de France is my biggest goal, it is every year and 2015 is no exception. I'd like to go and crush this year and be able to be successful with Etixx - Quick-Step, as they were last year. I'd be super proud of...

Photo: Tim de Waele










09.01.2015 @ 05:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Etixx - Quick-Step met with the Media for the 2015 Team Presentation on Thursday, at Gran Hotel Sol Y Mar in Calpe, and the combination of beautiful weather and excitement for the season made for an eventful day.


Etixx - Quick-Step Executive Chairman Bessel Kok began the Team Presentation by holding a moment of silence to commemorate the journalists who were victims of the terrible violence in Paris the day before.


After that important moment, Kok, along with Frans De Cock of Quick-Step, Marc Coucke, Etixx - Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere, and Sport & Development Manager Rolf Aldag, discussed the history and heritage of the team from 2003 until 2014, as well as the goals and aspirations of Etixx - Quick-Step for the 2015 season.


"I became 60 two days ago," Lefevere said. "Sometimes I feel my age, sometimes I feel like a young dog running around with so much energy. Of course with the age, the experience joins you. I also have very good people around me, helping me to run this team. I'm still very proud to be here at the head of this team along with Mr. Zdenek Bakala, the Board of Directors, and with my sponsors who are so in line with me. You saw it at the Team Presentation today. 


"The key to a lot of victories is to like winning," Lefevere continued. "The day you wake up and you don't feel the stress to win, it is better you stop. If that day comes with me I'll stop immediately. But I'm not there yet. We thought two years ago that 62 victories would be impossible to beat as a number. We did it last year. I'm not going to say that we can't beat the 2014 number this year, but what I really like is the quality of the victories. Of course you cannot choose what kind of victories you will earn, but if we could add one quality win to the total, I would have to say Milano - Sanremo. But regardless, I am looking forward to more wins and more success with Etixx - Quick-Step."


"First of all let me say in this team we have 27 outstanding riders," Aldag said. "We have a good mix of veterans and young talent. It is nice how the goals of the team coincide with the individual riders so closely. You can see the spirit of the team. Concerning our goals for 2015, we'd like to extend our aspirations in the major stage races. We targeted the Giro for the GC and the Tour for stages in the 2014 editions. In 2015, due to the quality of the team, we believe we can move forward and be present in all three Grand Tours. We think we can enter these races with multiple goals in the GC and as stage hunters. At the same time we want to be present in the Monuments and maintain our confidence in the races that are the base of the team's heritage. The third goal is to try to develop our young riders, and also our young staff members, to give them a career chance. We love that people come to our team and grow within our system of success and absorb our way of thinking. I think with this kind of situation we can work together for good results. We can look at all our young talent and have a goal to help them grow step-by-step, and play a role in the sport in the future."


Etixx - Quick-Step riders then met with members of the media for one-on-one interviews.


Tom Boonen, a long-time member of the team and a legend in cycling, talked about his off-season and 2015 goals.


"I think for the moment everything is going well," Boonen said about training. "I started my preparation early. I took a two week break straight away after the World Championships, and then I began training again and until now I am happy with how things are going. I haven't been sick once all winter, which is excellent. I think I had to skip maybe three or four trainings due to weather, even when in Belgium. It was always possible to do something. So, now the last four weeks until the start of the season is here. It's time to start adding intensity. But for sure, if I had to leave for a race tomorrow I could do it. The only thing I need this year is a little more luck in 2015. I hope to go for good results early in the season and keep winning up until April."


Boonen said the Cobbled Classics will be his big target for the 2015 season, as they are every year.


"Of course Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix have been the main goal since 2012," Boonen said. "It's the same plan as it always is. Just go maximum into those races and do my best to win."


Mark Cavendish, one of the best sprinters in the history of the sport, enjoyed the nice weather while speaking with the media.


"We've got big aims, we're the team that won the most last year," Cavendish said. "Etixx – Quick-Step wants to do the same this year. It's nice for the media to know what our goals are and this day in Calpe is a good way for them to all learn about them at the same time."


Cavendish said his big goal for 2015 is Le Tour de France. He was forced to withdraw from the 2014 edition after a crash in the 1st Stage.


"Obviously the Tour de France is my biggest goal, it is every year and 2015 is no exception," Cavendish said. "I'd like to go and crush this year and be able to be successful with Etixx – Quick-Step, as they were last year. I'd be super proud of that."


Tony Martin, three-time UCI World TT Champion and the rider who had one of the best wins of 2014 with a solo road victory at Le Tour, said his goals span throughout the season.


"I would like to do well in the spring stage races, such as Paris-Nice, Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and Tour de Romandie," Martin said. "I'd like to go for the GC like I did at Tour de Suisse in 2014. Then of course the big goal is the prologue of the Tour de France, to win and hopefully take the Yellow Jersey. Then, at the end, I'd like to take back the UCI World Title in the Time Trial and help the team fight for another UCI World Team Time Trial Championship."


Martin said he is happy that the new sponsor, Etixx, is on board for 2015.


"I'm happy that Etixx has really grown and gives us even more support this year," Martin said. "I'm looking forward to working with them on an even deeper level this year as sponsors, along with Quick-Step. I also think the jersey and shorts look really nice. They look Classic, but a little bit more color to make it more visible in the peloton and therefore friendly to the public. I already heard a lot of people really like the jersey. Anyway, it's always a pleasure to wear this jersey regardless of the color."


Michal Kwiatkowski, 2014 UCI World Road Champion, was swarmed by the media and he was asked about his palmares, as well as what he wants to accomplish as a still blossoming young rider in 2015.


"We are here in Spain for our second training camp for Etixx – Quick-Step, and it's really important to be here with all my teammates building a big base of kilometers before the start of the 2015 season," Kwiatkowski said. "I'm looking forward to racing with the Rainbow Jersey, starting with Tour de San Luis. As of now things are going well. I'm healthy and trying to get stronger day-by-day. I'm looking forward to the upcoming races. I will say that this year, the early races will be more of a focus on preparation with my condition. I will try and focus on just getting in better condition in anticipation of the Ardennes Classics, which is the objective of the first part of the year. I hope I will be able to do something better than last year. I just love racing there and hope that can be a successful first part of my season."


Kwiatkowski said engagement with both media and fans is an important aspect of being the World Champion.


"I like it, it brings more people into the sport of cycling," Kwiatkowski said. "I share with them my experience on social media with things like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, because these people support me during the races. They cheer me on the side of the roads when I'm riding, so I want to pay them back by sharing the information of how and what I'm doing. I hope their support will give me a bit of a push for the 2015 season."


Zdenek Stybar — 2014 UCI Cyclocross World Champion and Czech Road Champion — also spoke with members of the media. Stybar suffered a season ending injury during the winter at a cyclocross race, but hopes to have much better luck this season.


"I will not target any particular race, but I will aim to do well in a specific period of the year," Stybar said about his hopes for 2015. "The period I want to aim for is the Classics period. I don't want to peak for any race, I just want to be in great shape for that time of the year. I'm improving. The condition is getting better. I had to come a long way. My first performance tests were pretty bad after coming back from my injury, but my latest tests show I am again getting back my form. So I am really happy that I didn't work hard for nothing. I feel great. My shoulder still limits me a bit, but I think things are going well considering."


Stybar said he is looking forward to racing in the 2015 kit of Etixx - Quick-Step.


"I really like our 2015 kits," Stybar said. "I think we will be visible in the peloton. I like also my Czech Champion jersey. I am really proud to wear it. I am also proud that we have such strong sponsors as Etixx and Quick-Step. In this moment of cycling, that's not easy to find such big partners. We can be really proud about this and I think the future is bright. I think every year we should always aim to be better and better, so even though we had 68 victories in 2014, we will continue to try and win as many races as possible in 2015."


Niki Terpstra was one of the last of the team to arrive in Calpe, as he just won Six Days of Rotterdam with Etixx – Quick-Step rider Iljo Keisse the day before.


"First of all I am happy about yesterday's victory," Terpstra said. "It was nice and at the end it was also a good way to speed up the legs, and it is also nice to have a goal accomplished already. Now I have developed some race speed. I have already a good feeling and I hope to keep this feeling until the Classics period of the season. I signed for three years because the cooperation is great within the team. We share the same vision, and we talk about the small details that riders look for always. We also ride offensively and I like to ride in this way. That's why I love this team. The team trusts me and I trust them. We also don't have one captain, but a bunch of strong guys that can finalize the job of any race we enter. That's what makes our team one of the best in the world."



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