OPQS names Tour de France team as Mark Cavendish targets maillot jaune on Corsica

Cav gets same leadout that helped him to Giro triumph, Tony Martin and Sylvain Chavanel also in strong line-up

by Simon_MacMichael   June 18, 2013  

Mark Cavendish with OPQS team mates (pic Gian Mattia d'Alberto, LaPresse, RCS Sport)

Omega Pharma-Quick Step has announced its team for the 100th edition of the Tour de France, as Mark Cavendish looks to win back the green jersey he lost to Cannondale’s Peter Sagan last year. It’s a strong line-up, and one that also features riders with their own ambitions of taking stage wins during the three-week race.

The Belgium-based outfit is looking to play an influential role from the first stage on Corsica a week on Saturday – a road stage rather than a Prologue, and one that should end in a sprint.

That gives Cavendish an opportunity to join Bradley Wiggins and David Millar as the only British riders to have worn the leader’s jersey in all three Grand Tours.

"We have a strong team at the Tour de France,” said the team’s sport and development manager Rolf Aldag, who was sports director to Cavendish at HTC-Highroad when he won the green jersey in 2011.

“Together with the sport directors we talked this morning with all the guys and they are really committed to the team goals,” he continued.

“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.”

Last month, Cavendish won five sprint stages at the Giro d’Italia, winning the points competition, and becoming just the fifth man to take that prize in the Tour, the Vuelta and the Giro.

That performance put paid to rumours prior to the Italian race that Cavendish was unhappy with the way his leadout had performed in races since winning the Tour of Qatar in February.

“Mark will be able to count on the same leadout of the Giro d'Italia,” said Aldag. “They are already tested in race situations and will be ready again.

“[Gert] 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 kilometre."

World time trial champion Martin, meanwhile, will target the two individual stages against the clock, while Sylvain Chavanel, a former maillot jaune, will look to target some of the medium mountain stages.

Fellow Frenchman Jerome Pineau will take on the role that Bernie Eisel has fulfilled for Cavendish in previous years, helping him through the mountains and looking after him on flatter stages, while the 23-year-old Pole Michal Kwiatkowski makes his Tour debut, looking to gain experience of the race and perhaps spend time in the white jersey.

Peter Velits and Niki Terpstra complete the team, while Kevin De Weert and Martin Velits have been named as reserves.

Team CEO Patrick Lefevere commented: "We have for sure one of the best teams in the entire field at the Tour.

Mark counts on a committed team built around him. For the team, it will be also important to show themselves in any situation possible.

“With seven stages for the sprinters, one TTT and two ITT, we can be protagonists in almost half the stages in the Tour.

“That is without counting riders like Chavanel and Terpstra, who have the ability to play a role in medium mountain stages.

The goals of the team are to try to win a few stages, be protagonists, and be a presence. The team wants to show its ability to stay united as a group.

“We believe the team is not only the sum of great individuals. What can make a difference for our team is the teamwork, to stay together and reach common goals as we did in the Giro d'Italia.

“I think when it comes to OPQS, we’ve shown how unique riders can fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Our Tour de France selection features eight nationalities of nine riders.

“We are an example of the globalization of cycling, and have already proven that such diversity can come together as a cohesive unit.

The team's last success in the race came in 2010, when Sylvain Chavanel won two stages and also spent two days in the maillot jaune, and Lefevere added: “We missed the victory at the Tour in the last few years.

"We really want to go for it and then see on the road day-by-day what kind of opportunities we can have."

6 user comments

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He's looking good this year, the team are ready to die for him. I can't wait to see him line up against Griepel & Kittell. Oh and that other fella called Sagan or something.

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
18th June 2013 - 12:24

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Well if the course is better suited to Froome than it would have been for Wiggins (hilly) then perhaps it, the course, may be also suitable to Sagan. I hope not as I love to see Cav on top form.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1103 posts]
18th June 2013 - 13:05

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I'm hoping he's *not* after the maillot jaune, don't think that would work out!

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3709 posts]
18th June 2013 - 14:38

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He's after wearing it- on day 2. Stage 1 is a flat stage with a preduicted sprint finish. First across the line takes the maillot jaune for the following day- it's something to add to the collection, as he has the approriate jerseys from the Giro and Vuelta. Even just to wear the GC jersey for a day is a pretty big honour.

posted by Al__S [874 posts]
18th June 2013 - 16:29

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Indeed, and something that just popped into my head... He wore the maglia rosa in the Giro, he's probably the favourite to get the maillot jaune after Stage 1 of the Tour...

Now, I'm not sure if he's planning on riding the Vuelta, but OPQS are world champions in the TTT, which is what it opens with, and I'm wondering whether anyone has led all 3 Grand Tours in the same season?

Cav has said he leaves it to others to think about records like that, but I bet he'd be tempted...

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9382 posts]
18th June 2013 - 17:11

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Just to geek out like I do...

I don't believe anyone has ever led all three grand tours in one season.

I think that Federico Bahamontes led all three mountains classifications in the same season, winning the TdF and Vuelta but only finishing fourth in the Giro (1958)

If anyone could have done it, I would be looking at Raphael Geminiani (1955)

Gastone Nencini won the Giro in 1957, he also won the mountains in TdF and for a while held the points in the Vuelta, all in the same year, finishing 2nd in the points in the Vuelta in the end.

I cannot think of anyone else, Marino Lejarreta finished all three grand tours from 87,89,90,91 but I don't think he ever won anything or led the jerseys

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9355 posts]
19th June 2013 - 3:52

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