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"So it's a course where you have to stay together and never over pace it. But overall it's a really nice course and I think we will have a good chance — especially because the course is not that easy to handle. We are tha...

Photo: OPQS/Tim De Waele










20.09.2014 @ 19:35 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Omega Pharma-Quick Step go into the Worlds team time trial as two-time defending champions and will line up a powerful roster to keep their winning streak alive. Powerhouse Tony Martin has checked the course and says that cohesiveness is the key to success.


OPQS is prepared to defend its two-time champion status at the UCI World TTT Championship, which takes place on Sunday in Ponferrada.


Tony Martin, Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra, Michal Kwiatkowski, Pieter Serry, and Julien Vermote will represent the team on the 57.1km parcours. There are three time checks at kilometer 13.5, kilometer 36.1, and kilometer 48.9 of the course. There are two climbs to ascend, the most difficult being 750m long at 8 percent average gradient.


The UCI World TTT Championship is in its third edition, meaning OPQS made history with the first championship and has a chance to be the only team to win a gold medal in the discipline if the team is victorious on Sunday. In 2012, OPQS won the 53.2km TTT in Valkenburg by 3.23 seconds with a time of 1:03.17, finishing with all six riders.


The second UCI World TTT Championship won by OPQS in 2013 was a nail biter. The difference between gold and silver was less than a second at the 57.2km course ending in Firenze. OPQS averaged 53.402 km/h and finished with a winning time of 1:04:16.81.

"I rode along the parcours three times, and when I saw it even the first time I was really happy about it," Martin, three-time UCI world TT Champion, said. "There are wide roads that aren't too dangerous. The first part is more or less easy it seems. The second time I rode the course, I noticed the second half of the parcours is where you cannot get a rhythm. It's rolling, but never really steep or long. Maybe that's the true danger. You think you can just go full gas everywhere and then in the end, you realize the power in the legs is missing in the last 15 minutes.


"So it's a course where you have to stay together and never over pace it. But overall it's a really nice course and I think we will have a good chance — especially because the course is not that easy to handle. We are that team that can handle a complex course the best.


"Because it's a TTT, you also have to stay focused in the corners. You have to think about your 5th or 6th person on a course like this and not just yourself, as you would in an individual time trial. So, with the profile of this course, it will be a course that requires us to work cohesively at all times to win tomorrow."


"I think that preparation for the Worlds TTT started from when it was announced," Sport & Development Manager Rolf Aldag said. "Since then, Koen Pelgrim and Tom Steels have been planning out the race. It was an early parcours visit this year for OPQS. Koen already checked the course, so we had an idea before we came.


"We chose our riders carefully and even had a reserve rider in Petr Vakoc. Equipment is ready, we have the technical support from all our partners. Now it's just about the legs and avoiding bad luck. We will do our best of course.


"Winning two times already, you are considered a favorite, like it or not. We will start last, so it gives you the chance to get intermediate checks before the start and time each section a little bit. But really it will be about clean technique on the bike and the horsepower of our riders, and we believe these riders have the horsepower.


"The parcours of this year is more technical than last year with more ups and downs and corners, but it's a very nice course. It's not really dangerous. I wouldn't say it's easy. It's not as technical as Valkenburg in 2012, but we already showed we are ready for the technical courses or the flat courses with our performances the past two years."


"It's wide, wide roads, and never really flat but a little up and down, up and down," Terpstra said. "So, it's a parcours where you really need horsepower and good teamwork. Then you can go really fast. There are some technical sections, but most of the time it's just full gas and the strongest team will win."


"I'm very happy I'm selected," Vermote said. "It's an honor to ride. I think I showed I am in good shape after doing a lot of work in the front and also winning a stage solo attacking out of a long breakaway. I'm thrilled to be here and I want to prove I was the right choice by helping the team tomorrow.


"This parcours is really fast and then a technical section, and the last part is big roads. I think we will need all six riders to ride as fast as possible also the last climb, then there's still 1.5km to go . So, our legs will be dead by the end of this team time trial. But we have a strong and well balanced team here, and we have to go full gas for this opportunity."



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