Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep Reveals Line-Up for Giro d'Italia 2014
The Omega Pharma - Quick-Step cycling team has announced its roster for the first grand tour of the 2014 season, the Giro d'Italia. Starting with three stages in Ireland, the Giro takes place from May 9 to June 1, where it concludes in the coastal city Trieste in northeastern Italy. The 3,449.9 kilometer stage race includes one team time trial, two individual time trials, eight sprint stages, one medium mountain stage without a summit finish and four medium mountain stages with summit finishes, and five high mountain stages with summit finishes.
For the first time in recent history, the team will approach a grand tour with the sole ambition of obtaining a top result in the tour's general classification. The team's signing of Rigoberto Uran from Team Sky before the start of this season opens up this opportunity for the team, which is already known for its significant dominance in sprints and time trials.
"For the team it will be a kind of milestone," Omega Pharma-QuickStep sports director Davide Bramati explained to RoadCycling.com. "For the first time in years, the team will be present with ambitions to do well in the general classification and support Rigoberto Uran - a rider who was already on the podium last year."
"Our approach to the Giro d'Italia has changed compared to prior years. We did some recon of the key stages and the riders that have to stay near Uran followed a unique training and racing program to be in top condition for this exact race. Everyone knows our goal, which is to try to do well with Uran and give him full support to fight for a top general classification placing in the last week of the Giro," Bramati added.
"The team is strong. We have a group of climbers such as Serge Pauwels, Gianluca Brambilla, Wout Poels and Pieter Serry who will have the task of escorting Uran in the high mountains. We have great quality generalists like Iljo Keisse and Julien Vermote for the flat stages. Then we have Alessandro Petacchi, who can utilize his experience for the service of the team and maybe do something good in the sprints. Additionally, we also have Thomas De Gendt. He was on the podium in 2012. He knows the race, which is important and can be helpful for Uran in the race," Bramati continued.
Adding an interesting twist to this year's edition of the Giro d'Italia the race will begin in Ireland, where the riders will be forced to battle the raw, chilly and windy conditions that are so common for Ireland.
"In the first stages in Ireland it will be important to start the race well," Bramati explained when asked to comment on the derived effects of the race's start in Ireland. "We will have to pay attention to the wind and the nervousness in the peloton. In the first days there is always a bit of chaos going on. The roads will be narrow in Ireland, so we have to be focused."
"The stages in Italy will have to be handled day-by-day with the long-term goal of being well-positioned in the last week. Starting with the weekend before the second week of racing, every day will be difficult. We will have five high mountain stages with summit finishes in the last eight stages. We will face the 26.8 kilometer individual time trial on the Cima Grappa, which is the 18th stage. So, really, it's a tough week. Every day can include a decisive moment for the overall. There is no room for an off-day in terms of performance, because it will be too difficult to recover from with such a continuously challenging route."
Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep Roster for Giro d'Italia 2014:
Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Thomas De Gendt (BEL), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Wout Poels (NED), Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), Pieter Serry (BEL), and Julien Vermote (BEL).
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