Omega Pharma-Quick Step confirmed its Tour de France roster on Monday and will send a team built around Mark Cavendish’s assault on the green points jersey. World time trial champion Tony Martin, outside overall contender Michal Kwiatkowski, and protagonist Sylvain Chavanel will anchor the Belgian squad’s nine-man roster, which does not feature former world champion Tom Boonen.
“We have a strong team at the Tour de France,” sport and development manager Rolf Aldag said in a team release. “Together with the sport directors, we talked this morning with all the guys and they are really committed to the team goals. The team will be built mainly around Mark Cavendish. Cav is there to try and win stages, and of course one of the big goals of Mark is to go for the yellow jersey on the first day. This is something he missed for the moment — he has worn yellow before, but never after the first stage of the Tour.”
The final pieces of Cavendish’s once-tenuous leadout, which supported him to five stage wins and the points jersey in May’s Giro d’Italia, will be back for the Tour.
“They are already tested in race situations and will be ready again,” said Aldag. “Steegmans will be the last man, and Matteo Trentin will be the second to last man. But, all the team will be committed with Mark when the stage will fit his characteristics. Tony Martin will be there to ride to the ‘Flamme Rouge’ on the flat stages. He will bring Matteo, Gert, and Cav into the best position possible in the final kilometer.”
For his part, Martin will target the race’s first time trial, on July 10. The 33km eleventh stage from Avranches to Mont Saint-Michel features a hilly opening 15km with the second half trending downhill.
“Tony will also be there to get his chances at the time trials,” Aldag said. “The first ITT will be a little more appropriate for his skills. The second will be difficult, but for sure he will still try his best. He will also be an important piece to our [stage 4] TTT as he is the world champion of this discipline, so we will rely on his strength to lead us during this stage.”
Kwiatkowski’s young star shone brightly in the Ardennes classics, where he registered top-five results at the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne.
“Kwiatkowski is the youngest guy of the team,” Aldag said. “We decided to bring him because it’s time to get this kind of experience, to try and wear the white jersey even for a limited time. It will be a kind of dream for him and of course a great achievement for the team. We will try to make it real, but without stress or pressure. He has to learn a lot and Le Tour will be another important step of his learning process.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step
Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Sylvain Chavanel (FRA)
Michal Kwiatkowski (POL)
Tony Martin (GER)
Jerome Pineau (FRA)
Gert Steegmans (BEL)
Niki Terpstra (NED)
Matteo Trentin (ITA)
Peter Velits (SVK)