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"I am very happy about this team. Everybody was in the front from the beginning until the end. Everybody is motivated and the atmosphere is really good, even among the staff. Today we knew everything about the finish — all the sm...

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele

CHALLENGE MALLORCA

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GIANNI MEERSMAN

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QUICK-STEP - ALPHA VINYL

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12.02.2014 @ 19:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Gianni Meersman took Omega Pharma-Quick Step's fifth win in just four days - and the second today - when he won the sprint at the end of today's very hard Trofeo Platja de Muro. Having celebrated Michal Kwiatkowski's win just 24 hours earlier, the Belgian praised the special team atmosphere that has turned the team into the one to beat at the moment.

 

After a slow start and an unsuccessful Dubai Tour, Omega Pharma-Quick Step has finally found its momentum and is currently the team to beat. Having dominated the Tour of Qatar with three out of four stage wins, the team took a double win today as Gianni Meersman added the win in the Trofeo Platja de Muro to the one Tom Boonen took earlier today in Qatar.

 

The team took control of a front group in the final kilometers in hopes of a second straight victory at Trofeo Mallorca, following Michal Kwiatkowski's solo win on Tuesday. The front group was down to 45 riders with 26km to go and the team made sure it was always a factor in the remainder of the race. Meersman went on to beat Fran Ventoso (Movistar Team) and Ben Swift (Team Sky).

 

Omega Pharma Quick Step has now won seven races — in three disciplines — in 2014. All five road victories were at Tour of Qatar and Trofeo Mallorca. Meersman also has an important addition to his palmares, as this is the earliest he's won a race in any season.

 

"It was a hard race with a group on a breakaway from the beginning including Serge Pauwels," Meersman said. "Sky controlled the race. At the bottom of the last climb there was an acceleration. During the climb we were there with 40 or more guys and in the last 15km the team took the initiative. We had six or seven guys in the front and we worked together like a great team. They brought me to the last kilometers.

 

"In the final kilometer Michal Kwiatkowski led me into the best position to do my sprint. At that point I launched and managed to beat Ventoso and Swift, finishing the job of my team."

 

Meersman praised the special atmosphere that has turned his team into the one to beat.

 

" I am very happy about this team," he said. "Everybody was in the front from the beginning until the end. Everybody is motivated and the atmosphere is really good, even among the staff. Today we knew everything about the finish — all the small details. The team trusts me and it's really nice to ride for a team like that, where everybody knows their position and that we have common goals.

 

"I think that this victory also paid off the work I did during the winter. It's my third race of the season and I've already won a race, so it's nice. My next race will be Classic Sud-Ardeche, and I carry great morale from Mallorca as I take my next steps."

 

OPQS Sport Director Tom Steels said he is proud of how the team is performing as a unit.

 

"With this group, we knew we had a good and competitive team that sticks together all the time," Steels said. "We've won two stages with Kwiatkowski and Meersman, but we were protagonists always, even in the first two stages [Meersman was 3rd and 4th respectively]. We were also intelligent in the race. This team is a presence in all the situations, and are really united. They work so well together, and it is a pleasure to lead a team like that."

 

Today's race was the final of the four-day Challenge Mallorca race series. 

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