Category: Quick-Step Floors

Quick-Step’s next challenge to keep it together


Quick-Step’s 2018 franchise record haul hit the crest of the wave over the weekend. Barely hours after its icing on the cake win at Guangxi — bringing its 2018 haul to 73 wins — the team is hoping to keep the wheels from coming off.

With rumored and confirmed departures of key riders, the big question is can Patrick Lefevere and co. keep its winning lineup together even with the arrival of a new title sponsor Deceuninck for 2019.

“It’s simple — you always have to keep fighting,” said team boss Patrick Lefevere. “We have had a big year because we have developed our riders. We have many riders who are winning races.”

By any measure, Quick-Step has had a tremendous season. It topped its franchise-record wins from a previous team-best of 71 wins in the Mapei glory days in 2000. Quick-Step’s 73 wins this year come close to the Columbia-HTC’s recent team-record of 85 wins in 2009 when the team was flying high with Mark Cavendish and André Greipel.

Quick-Step was competitive across the entire season, winning from the season-opener in the Santos Tour Down Under and taking “Ws” in the season-closer at the Tour of Guangxi. In between it won stage races, reached the podium in grand tours, and dominated the northern classics.

Quick-Step put three of its riders atop the most-win lists for the season. Elia Viviani led the way with 18 victories, with Julian Alaphillipe ranked fourth with 12. Fernando Gaviria won nine races to be tied for eighth on the season’s wins list.

Quick-Step’s bounty with 73 wins dwarfs the rest of the peloton. Team Sky ranked second with 43 wins and Mitchelton-Scott was third with 37.

There is a growing divide between the haves and the have-nots in the peloton. Quick-Step’s 73 wins equal the season-long-haul of the bottom five teams. Ag2r La Mondiale, Sunweb, UAE-Emirates, EF Education First-Drapac, and Katusha had a combined season total of 57 victories. Quick-Step runs on a budget of around $18 million per year, while Team Sky leads the WorldTour with a budget estimated more than $35 million per year.

There are a lot of reasons for this, and not all of them are purely financial. Sky has cycling’s biggest budget but UAE-Emirates, with one of the largest pocketbooks in the peloton, won 12 races in 2018. Quick-Step’s budget is middle of the pack, but it won thanks to a mix of veterans and emerging youthful talent.

Not many teams have invested as much in developing young riders as Quick-Step. Leading the way as talent scout was Matxin Fernández, now lead sport director at UAE-Emirates. Fernández helped recruit many of the young stars making an impact at Quick-Step today.

Lefevere and team owner Zdenek Bakala invested heavily in youth, and it paid off handsomely in 2018. Many of the team’s big winners this year came through the Klein Constantia development team that started in 2013.

Though it shuttered in late 2016, the team produced impressive talent during its four-year run, including Alaphilippe, Florian Sénéchel, Petr Vakoc, Patrik Konrad (now Bora-Hansgrohe), Schachman, Enric Mas, Remi Cavagna, and Ivan Garcia (now Bahrain-Merida).

“We are always developing young talent,” Lefevere said. “I remember when [Johan Museeuw] left, everyone said you are in trouble. Then we had the same thing when [Tom] Boonen retired. The team is here always.”

Thankfully for Lefevere, Deceuninck stepped up as a new sponsorship partner to assure the team’s immediate and near future.

The irony for Lefevere is that he is losing much of his team’s punch just when he finally appears to have some money in the bank.

Leading the exits is Niki Terpstra (Direct Energie in 2019), a winner of three races this year including Ronde van Vlaanderen, who is a beast in the classics when he’s on form. Other confirmed departures include budding Belgian stage racer Laurens De Plus (LottoNL-Jumbo in 2019), German sprinter Maximilian Schachman (Bora-Hansgrohe in 2019), with three wins in 2018, and Ecuadoran climbing promise Jhonathan Narvaez (Sky in 2019). Between those riders, the team won six races in 2018.

“I don’t have a chest to draw out money when I would like,” Lefevere told Sporza last month.

Rumors are flying thick that Fernando Gaviria is poised to join UAE-Emirates. The Colombian is a proven winner across stage races, with nine wins this year including two stages in the Tour de France despite an early season injury that kept him out of the spring classics. Gaviria, 24, is poised for greatness, but it appears there isn’t enough room on the Quick-Step roster for both Gaviria and Elia Viviani.

Another rider on the rumor list was Enric Mas, who rode to second overall at the Vuelta a España, but he re-upped with the team through 2019.

“If we do lose Fernando [Gaviria], we will still have Elia [Viviani],” Lefevere told Het Laaste Nieuws. “And it is now time for our young sprinters to step forward as well.”

The challenge now for Lefevere is to keep the wheels on the cart just when things are rolling along smoother than ever before.

Read the full article at Quick-Step’s next challenge to keep it together on VeloNews.com.

Quick-Step Floors will be Deceuninck-Quick-Step in 2019

After a lengthy search, the Quick-Step Floors team has found a new title sponsorship partner. The squad will be known as Deceuninck-Quick-Step in 2019.

According to a Monday press release from the team, Belgian-based window profile manufacturer Deceuninck has come on board in a multi-year agreement.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Deceuninck on board for the next seasons,” team CEO Patrick Lefevre said. “Thanks to their commitment and that of the other partners, the team can think of the future and build on what we have achieved during this outstanding season.”

Despite the team’s consistent success all year, Lefevre has spent months hunting for a new team sponsor to keep the high-budget team afloat, with Quick-Step Floors planning to move into a secondary sponsor role after this season. Although the top-ranked team on the WorldTour was able to secure a number of smaller non-title sponsors over the course of the year, concerns of maintaining a hefty payroll into 2019 began to mount.

Only a few months after his terrific spring campaign at the helm of a powerful Quick-Step classics squad, Niki Terpstra decided to sign with French Pro Continental team Direct Energie for next season. Star sprinter Fernando Gaviria, meanwhile, was rumored to be in talks for an early exit from his contract to join UAE Team Emirates.

The arrival of Deceuninck, a sizable company with a global imprint, should help address those budgetary concerns, taking some of the burden off of Quick-Step and team owner Zdenek Bakala.

“This high-valued sponsorship offers plenty of commercial opportunities for Deceuninck and all our customers,” Deceuninck CEO Francis Van Eeckhout said. “I’m confident this is a new milestone for the company.”

Read the full article at Quick-Step Floors will be Deceuninck-Quick-Step in 2019 on VeloNews.com.

With worlds TTT win, Quick-Step moves closer to Lefevere’s season record


FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Quick-Step Floors’s team time trial win at UCI road worlds on Sunday pushed it closer to a new win record. And with the worlds road race approaching, stars like Enric Mas and Julian Alaphilippe could provide the final push.

The team now counts 69 wins this season, two taken Sunday, and stands just two shy of the all-time record of 71 for team boss Patrick Lefevere.

“71 is our new target, that is my all-time record with Mapei-Quick Step at the time,” Lefevere said last week.

Lefevere always created a successful environment in his nearly 20 years managing teams with Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, and Philippe Gilbert. Now, in the last six seasons, his team has ended at the top in terms of wins.

Season wins breakdown:
2017: 56
2016: 54
2015: 54
2014: 61
2013: 54
2012: 51 (tied with Team Sky)

“In 2000, we won 71 times with Mapei-Quick Step. We then needed 43 riders and rode a triple program. Now, we did it with 28 riders. Suddenly, 71 victories are no longer a distant dream,” Lefevere said.

Lefevere recently broke the record of 61 with the current management formation. Now, the 71-win mark from 2000 seems within reach considering, the speed the team is traveling.

On Sunday, Philippe Gilbert returned in his first race back after breaking his kneecap at the Tour de France and won the GP d’Isbergues. Within the hour, Quick-Step beat Sunweb to win the world championship team time trial in Innsbruck, Austria. Those performances gave the squad wins 68 and 69.

This week in Austria’s western state of Tyrol, riders will put on their national colors to race the remaining world championship events: the individual time trial and road races.

The attention turns to 23-year-old Spaniard Enric Mas, who was second overall in the recent Vuelta a España, and red-hot favorite Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe. Both could bring Quick-Step the rainbow jersey.

The worlds course includes nearly 5,000 meters of climbing, with the sharp, 2.8km Gramartboden climb just 8.8km before the finish line in Innsbruck.

Lefevere’s team over the last decade and a half has included world champions like Paolo Bettini and Tom Boonen. Stijn Devolder, Tony Martin, Mark Cavendish, and Michal Kwiatkowski filled out the rosters. The current 30-man lineup includes Gilbert, Mas, Alaphilippe, Bob Jungels, Niki Terpstra, and Fernando Gaviria.

The 2018 roster has given the team a dream season. Italian sprinter Elia Viviani finally reached his top speed after racing with Team Sky and won 19 times. Among those victories were stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, along with the Italian national title. Gaviria and Alaphilippe each won two stages in the Tour de France. Terpstra gave Lefevere another win at the Tour of Flanders.

“This is a wonderful farewell present,” Terpstra said of the TTT win. “This is really cool.”

After eight years with the team, Terpstra is moving to Direct Energie for 2019. It underlines a problem for Lefevere, which is keeping all of his top stars in house with a modest budget.

“It always hurts,” Lefevere told Sporza last month when asked about top stars leaving his team.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have a chest to draw out the money I would like, otherwise I would be the boss of Team Sky and not of Quick-Step.”

Quick-Step runs on an estimated 18 million euros, or roughly $20.4 million. Sky is at the top of the spectrum with 31 million British pounds, or about $39.4 million.

For now, the team is focused on ending 2018 on a high. It has the world championships this week and a series of other races, including Il Lombardia, the Tour of Turkey, and the Tour of Guangxi, left on the schedule.

If 70 comes this week in Innsbruck, 71 could come shortly after. Perhaps even 72.

Reaching Team Highroad’s mark may be difficult. With Mark Cavendish sprinting to victories everywhere, the American team recorded 77 in 2008 and 85 in 2009.

Read the full article at With worlds TTT win, Quick-Step moves closer to Lefevere’s season record on VeloNews.com.

Men’s world championship TTT report: Quick-Step Floors prove their reputation to take the win


Quick-Step Floors convincingly won the men’s world championship team time trial, beating Sunweb and BMC into second and third, 18 and 20 seconds back respectively. It was a fitting end for a team with such a strong history in the discipline to take the final world championships ridden by trade teams.

“We are so happy and the feeling is incredible,” said Yves Lampaert of Quick-Step Floors. “We were not the top favorites but we have a very strong team. There were a lot of young riders but very talented young riders. I was confident we would do a great performance but to win is different, and with that time gap also.”

The men’s team time trial saw teams racing from Ötzal and into Innsbruck. Like the women’s race, the route was largely downhill for the first 40 kilometers of the 62.8km total. However, in a deviation from the women’s parcours, the men’s teams were taken around the outskirts of Innsbruck over a 4.6km climb averaging 5.7 percent, before descending to a flat final 10km.

Sunweb started the race as defending champions and one of the favorites, though BMC, runners-up in the prior two championships, could never be ruled out.

At the first time check on 22.8km, Mitchelton-Scott had posted the best time, leading BMC by seven seconds and Quick-Step Floors by 12 seconds. Sunweb posted the fifth-fastest time at this point, 22 seconds back.

The climb caused issues for all, with several big teams suffering. By the summit in Axams, LottoNL-Jumbo, Katusha, and Movistar had all been reduced to four of their six riders.

CCC-Sprandi set a strong initial benchmark finish time of 1:10:03, a better result than Katusha could manage despite boasting strong time trialists such as Tony Martin and Alex Dowsett. However, as more of the WorldTour teams came in, the Polish outfit soon tumbled down the rankings.

At the time check in Axams at the top of the climb, Quick-Step Floors proved themselves to be the most successful TTT outfit in the history of the event, posting the fastest time with only Sunweb yet to pass through. The Belgian team bettered BMC’s time by three seconds.

Sunweb came through the Axams time check faster than Quick-Step floors by less than a second, putting them as the fastest team to the top of the climb. At this point, only four seconds separated the top three teams, all of whom had five riders remaining for the final 20km.

At their arrival at the finish line in Innsbruck, Quick-Step Floors shattered the then-fastest finish time set by Mitchelton-Scott, posting a time of 1:07:25, in an average of 55.5kph. This was 57 seconds faster than Mitchelton-Scott’s; however, BMC and Sunweb were yet to finish.

BMC came home as a cohesive unit of five, but they were not able to match the experience and power of Quick-Step Floors, finishing 20 seconds behind the Belgian team, second in the virtual standings, with only Sunweb remaining on course.

As Sunweb entered the final kilometers, they too were also nearly 20 seconds behind Quick-Step Floors’ splits, but held on to shade into second place, beating BMC’s time by one second.

“It was a special parcours with a lot of fast and flat parts but a hard climb in the middle,” said Quick-Step Floors’ Niki Terpstra. “We really trained the downhill very well, we had the video and I played it 100 times yesterday on my phone to watch every corner. It was a bit scary but we knew the route and it worked pretty well. After eight years in the team, it’s the best present I can get from and give to the team.”

 

Read the full article at Men’s world championship TTT report: Quick-Step Floors prove their reputation to take the win on VeloNews.com.

Julian Alaphilippe showing how it’s done in th…

Julian Alaphilippe showing how it’s done in the leaders jersey at the OVO Tour of Britain.

Quick-Step Floors still searching for sponsor as riders leave

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Cycling’s top team Quick-Step Floors is struggling to find sponsorship to continue at the top level in 2019.

Team boss Patrick Lefevere admits he has not found a replacement for Quick-Step Floors and he cannot keep his ‘wolfpack’ together. Yesterday, star rider and 2018 Tour of Flanders winner Niki Terpstra announced he will join French team Direct Energie in 2019.

“It always hurts,” Lefevere told Sporza of seeing top riders leave his team.

“Sylvain Chavanel hurt a lot because he was a wonderful rider and did a great job, Niki [Terpstra] causes a lot of pain, Matteo Trentin too, Julien Vermote, even Mark Cavendish.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have a chest to draw out the money I would like, otherwise I would be the boss of Team Sky and not of Quick-Step.”

Quick-Step Floors’ budget is around €18 million (or $20.4m), competitive with other top teams but not in the same stratosphere as Team Sky’s with around £31 million ($39.4m).

Lefevere has been searching for some time for a new sponsor to ease the burden on owner Zdenek Bakala and to replace title sponsor Quick-Step Floors.

The team is number one in terms of wins. It finished 2017 on top and for 2018, it counts 54 victories so far. The second best team, Sky, has 36.

Lefevere welcomed smaller sponsors recently. He brought in supermarket chain Lidl in September 2015 and this summer at the Tour de France, he welcomed Maes 0.0% beer. Big money backers like Emirates airline company or Sky media group have not appeared, however.

“Quick-Step will stay for at least another three years, but they would prefer to become a second sponsor,” Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad earlier this week. “I do not have that main sponsor yet.”

“I do not really care where the sponsor comes from. That may well be China or Mongolia. As long as they bring real money and no Monopoly money.”

Working with Mapei and with the Quick-Step team since 2003, Lefevere has learned how to stretch his dollar. He scouts talented new riders and signs contracts with them while their value is still low. The problem is, after he develops them, he no longer has the money to keep everyone.

Budget constraints forced him to let go of some of his star cyclists at the end of the 2017 season. Dan Martin joined UAE Team Emirates, Matteo Trentin went to Mitchelton-Scott, and Marcel Kittel left to Team Katusha. Now, he let Niki Terpstra go.

Terpstra joined the team in 2011 from Milram. Over the eight seasons, the Dutchman won Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders.

“There was no offer on my part because I did not have the money,” Lefevere said. “I think I’m still an honest man at 63. I’m not going to promise someone something I cannot give.

“I didn’t have enough money to make a proposal. I fear that tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or next week, the budget might be there and then it will hurt more [losing Terpstra].”

Lefevere is making the best with his current crop of star riders. He built the eight-man Vuelta a España team, announced today, around Italian Elia Viviani. Viviani, who counts 14 wins so far in 2018, will race for sprint victories in the Spanish tour starting August 25 in Málaga.

Viviani will have support from Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Sabatini, Kasper Asgreen, Laurens De Plus, Dries Devenyns, Enric Mas, and Pieter Serry

Read the full article at Quick-Step Floors still searching for sponsor as riders leave on VeloNews.com.

kaspergoalberg:

kaspergoalberg:

Marcel via Instagram Story | 15.07.2018

A look back at the classics showdown between Sagan and Quick-Step

The 2018 northern classics will be remembered for the epic battle between Peter Sagan and Quick-Step.

Read the full article at A look back at the classics showdown between Sagan and Quick-Step on VeloNews.com.

Sprinter showdown: Gaviria takes round two in California

Fernando Gaviria is two for two in the bunch sprint battles so far at the Tour of California

Read the full article at Sprinter showdown: Gaviria takes round two in California on VeloNews.com.

Quick-Step’s lead-out squad ready for Tour dominance

So how does Quick-Step find ways to win the big sprints every year? The explanation is simple; the execution is nearly impeccable.

Read the full article at Quick-Step’s lead-out squad ready for Tour dominance on VeloNews.com.