Team report: Quickstep delight as Cav wins


Cav “We won. I’m super, super happy with the win today. The guys worked exactly like they wanted to the whole stage”

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Tour de France Stage 5: Cavendish Wins After True Team Effort – 40th Win in Three Disciplines for OPQS

03-Jul-2013: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team put all riders on the front for sprinter Mark Cavendish on Wednesday, on a deceptively lumpy course that included Col de Gineste (2.89km, 4.4%) with just 12.5km to go in the 228.5km Stage 5 of the Tour de France.

030713 OPQS TDF Stage 5

The entire team chased down a four rider breakaway – which was down to just Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) with 4km to go — and then began battling on the left side to maintain good leadout position against all the top sprinter teams in the peloton. Cannondale, Lotto-Belisol, ORICA-GreenEDGE, BMC Racing Team, Vacansoleil-DCM, Argos-Shimano, and Lampre-Merida were all there trying to contend for the sprint.

However, OPQS held their ground and after a turn going into the final few hundred meters, the team remained on the front which allowed Gert Steegmans to give his all and drop Cavendish off perfectly for the sprint victory. He bested Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky ProCycling), Peter Sagan (Cannondale ProCycling) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).

This is the 40th win (38th road) in three disciplines for OPQS in 2013. It’s also the 24th victory of Mark Cavendish at the Tour de France.

“I usually don’t start winning until about the 5th stage of the Tour anyway,” Cavendish said. “This has been pretty on the norm, but we were really motivated today. ORICA-GreenEDGE did the chasing today which was nice, for once we could sit behind and save it for the end. Jerome Pineau told me about the final climb”.

“I knew it was always going to be difficult. When I turned left I immediately recognized it from one of my first races as a professional. I knew exactly what climb it was as soon as I hit it heading into Marseille, and luckily I held on and I had the whole team around me to take me to the last kilometer.”

030713 OPQS TDF Stage 5 Cavendish

“We never really caught the break until the last minute so we really had to take off,” Cavendish continued. “Sylvain Chavanel, Tony Martin, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Peter Velits chased down the break. We had to use our train up early to catch them back. You could see how committed everybody was today for the sprint and the win. Matteo Trentin went in the final and he went really, really well,” Cavendish said.

“He held off two guys going on the right and took a massive turn into the last corner with Gert Steegmans on his wheel. Steegmans stayed patient and he went so fast, I have to say I didn’t even really have to accelerate off his wheel. I just carried on the speed he took me to and only for the last 250 meters and that was it. We won. I’m super, super happy with the win today. The guys worked exactly like they wanted to the whole stage. We started the sprinting off just like we did in the Giro d’Italia. Yesterday was frustrating we were less than a second from the stage win. Now we can celebrate, we’ve got good morale in the team and we boosted it even more today.”

Cavendish could not say enough about the last two men of his leadout train.

“Gert is one of the most intelligent guys I know,” Cavendish said. “He reads — he plays a joker quite a bit but he is super, super intelligent and super deep. He’s a really great guy. When I was on different teams I used to fight with him a little bit, but he was one of the guys I was most excited to race with on Omega Pharma – Quick-Step. I think the way we’ve jelled together along with Matteo Trentin is important. You’ve got one of the most experienced guys in the peloton with one of the most youthful guys in the peloton. They work really, really well together in front of me and it makes my job so much easier in the final. I’m super lucky to have a committed group of guys like that, and especially here at the Tour de France.”

Trentin had to do quite a bit of fighting to put Cavendish into the best position on the final corner.

“When I saw the guy of Lotto-Belisol go, Niki Terpstra already pulled longer than he had on the schedule of the leadout,” Trentin said. “So, I decided to go, because the important part was to stay in front on the last corner. It was a little bit longer than what was on the map because the map said at 500m, but it was at 570m almost. So when I arrived I was like ‘Oh no, I’m too long,’ but I stayed. Another guy of Lotto-Belisol went, Gert went, and then I finally stopped. I did all I could to set up Cavendish for the victory and I’m so happy with this result.”

Steegmans was just as proud of the victory as the final man for the Manx Missile.

“I have a smile on my face,” Steegmans said. “It feels super, especially after the disappointment of yesterday. The team took the lead in the final kilometers. We stayed at the correct side and could maintain our speed. Before the final corner our young guy Trentin moved up at the perfect moment like he was doing it for 15 years. Then I launched the sprint. Cavendish came out of my wheel perfectly. It is always perfect when you win, it doesn’t matter if you win by a meter or just three centimeters.”


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