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"The goal is to try and clinch at least one stage and get at least one of our athletes into the top 10 of the general classification," sports director Wilfried Peeters says

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ALESSANDRO PETACCHI

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BENELUX TOUR

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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GERT STEEGMANS

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GUILLAUME VAN KEIRSBULCK

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KEVIN DE WEERT

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NIKI TERPSTRA

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STIJN VANDENBERGH

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SYLVAIN CHAVANEL

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ZDENEK STYBAR

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10.08.2013 @ 13:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Omega Pharma-Quick Step is sending a very strong and versatile squad to the their home race Eneco Tour which starts on Monday. Alessandro Petacchi will make his debut in his new colours while Zdenek Stybar, Sylvain Chavanel and Niki Terpstra target a high overall placing.

 

As a Belgian team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step has high ambitions for the Eneco Tour which starts in Belgium on Monday and runs until Sunday. With 3 sprint stages, a tough uphill sprint, a hilly time trial and queen stages finishing on the Cote de La Redoute and the Muur van Geraardsbergen, the race presents the most challenging course ever.

 

Last year Omega Pharma-Quick Step put both Sylvain Chavanel and Niki Terpstra onto the overall podium in a race that was won by Lars Boom. Those two riders will be back this year to try to repeat that performance but may find the new course a little bit too difficult to their liking and especially Terpstra can be expected to struggle a bit on the Redoute climb.

 

This time the team has another option for the GC as Zdenek Stybar lines up at the race. The former world cyclo-cross champion did an amazing Tour of Flanders in his first full season as a road rider this year and has since overcome injury to restart his season. While he may lose some time in the time trial, the hillier stages should suit him well.

 

The team has decided not to make use of Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen has been ruled out due to a cyst. Instead, sprinting duties will fall onto the shoulders of Gert Steegmans, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Alessandro Petacchi who will race his first UCI race in his new colours, having recently joined the team.

 

The line-up is completed by Belgian classics hard-man Stijn Vandenbergh and climber Kevin De Weert who will play the role of domestiques.

 

"Following tradition the race features a first part — the first 4 stages — that are more suited to sprinters," sport director Wilfried Peeters said. "On the other hand, the weekend will be hard, with a time trial on Friday and the two queen stages on Saturday and Sunday with the arrival on the Murr van Geraardsbergen. Compared to last year, Saturday's stage will be more challenging, so there could be some surprises."

 

"As far as we're concerned, we're lining up for the start with a competitive squad," he continued. "For the sprint finishes in the first four days we will be able to count on fast riders like Gert Steegmans, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Alessandro Petacchi. Alessandro is at his first race with our jersey, so he will definitely be very motivated and determined to do well."

 

"Once we reach the weekend we'll have athletes like Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra and Sylvain Chavanel ,who are very comfortable on these types of routes that resemble the classics. The formation is rounded out by two solid riders like Kevin De Weert and Stijn Vandenbergh, who we can always count on to be ready in any racing situation. The goal is to try and clinch at least one stage and get at least one of our athletes into the top 10 of the general classification."

 

The Eneco Tour kicks off on Monday with a flat stage. We will have a thorough race preview online tomorrow.

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