Omega Pharma-Quick Step only knows success at the UCI trade team time trial world championships and can enter the third annual event Sunday confident of defending its title.
The Belgian-based squad has won gold since the inception of the event in 2012 but in saying that will surely face tough competition in Ponferrada, Spain.
BMC finished second at the inaugural running of the championship and with a line-up this year including American Tejay van Garderen, Slovakian national time trial champion Peter Velits, plus London Olympic team pursuit silver medallist Rohan Dennis, should rise to the challenge. The discipline is somewhat of a speciality for Orica-GreeEdge, which finished runner-up last season, and the Australian-based team is expected to send a strong line-up for the 57.1km event as well.
All eyes will first and foremost be on Omega Pharma-Quick Step however with Tom Boonen, Pieter Serry, Niki Terpstra and Julien Vermote rounding out the squad. The team leaves for Ponferrada today.
“The parcours looks more difficult than the one of last year, more technical for sure,” said sports director Tom Steels. “But fortunately we will have three days to get into the rhythm of the race, to study details and prepare as best we can.
“The team is strong. We believe this team can repeat the success of the first two attempts. All the guys showed they are in good condition for the race where they each competed in the last week.
“We have Tony Martin, who is the core as three-time UCI world TT champion. Then we have Niki Terpstra, who is a guarantee to perform in this effort as he was on the world championship team the last two years.
“Then we have Michal Kwiatkowski, who was a part of the team last year and showed his strength at Tour of Britain a few days ago,” he continued. “Tom Boonen is also there. He can’t wait to be a part of the team again after the experience of 2012 gold medal in Valkenburg.
“Then we have the two new rider selections in Pieter Serry and Julien Vermote. Serry was selected for the Belgian world TT championship team, which shows his prowess and his condition for the chrono. Vermote just won a [stage] at the Tour of Britain with a long breakaway and solo victory.
“Both guys showed their ability and also their improvement, particularly through working on time trials with the help of Specialized. So the team is really competitive and ready to play a role in Ponferrada.”
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List of events taking place at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, over September 21-28