So far this season Quick-Step Floors have been the winningest team of the peloton. They’ve been taking victory salutes from the cobbles of Belgium to the dusty roads of Colombia. Journal Velo asks… how are they doing that?
Around this time of year, there’s usually a good joke to be had during a race by asking how Quick-Step can turn a position of numerical advantage into a thunderous flop. But it’s the Belgian team who are laughing right now. After two solid months of racing, they’re sitting on 19 World Tour race wins and 37 podium places – more than any other team this season.
So how the hell are Quick-Step doing it?
Talent counts …
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I’ll start by stating the obvious. They’ve got some super strong riders. Six of their wins have come for Elia Viviani who is having a whale of a time at the team after transferring from Sky. Add in Fernando Gaviria, Niki Terpstra and Julian Alaphilippe and they have riders that can notch up wins at many different races.
… and they use it freely
The Quick-Step team for Gent-Wevelgem included Viviani, Philippe Gilbert, Yves Lampaert, Zdenek Stybar and Terpstra. That’s a massive amount of firepower if they work together. It’s also an incredible amount of options should the race split up. These are riders that would be the outright protected leader in many other squads. How do opposing teams mark that? How can they cover off all the choices Quick-Step have to make? It’s next to impossible.
Every now and then it’s almost embarrassing how strong the team is – like at Le Samyn when the entire Quick-Step team was in the break!
They race to win
Quick-Step turned up at this year’s Le Samyn with a squad whose individual members had collectively taken 100 race wins and had competed in over 100 classic races. In contrast, AG2R’s team for the race had a total of 15 race wins and competed in just 50 classic races beforehand. Quick-Step weren’t there to make up the numbers or see how things panned out. They turned up to win.
And they mix the old with the newEmbed from Getty Images
It’s not just the experienced riders getting the victories, however. They obviously have a strong scouting system in place and they’re happy to give these new riders a chance. In March alone, 21-year-old Colombian sprinter Alvaro Hodeg got two wins for the team and 22-year-old Remi Cavagna and 24-year-old Maximilian Schachmann also scored their first World Tour wins to add to the Belgian squad’s total.
So as Tom Boonen slips of one end of the conveyor belt, Patrick Lefebvre is dropping neo-pros onto the other end. Quick-Step isn’t running out of talent anytime soon.
They don’t have a classics big beast
Yes, Quick-Step have strong and accomplished riders but they don’t have anyone who is automatically the big favourite for any of the important one-day races. One of the features of this year’s classics has been the close marking of guys like Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet. With teams pouring resources into watching them, it gives Quick-Step a little more freedom to make things happen. It’s a consequence of having many strong riders, but no outright leader, that they can be fluid with their tactics. Often Quick-Step manage to fly just under the radar.
The 19 wins Quick-Step have amassed this season have come from 9 riders. Not one of those riders is Belgian.
So how The hell is Quick-Step wiping the floor with everyone? I’ll let Niki Terpstra explain…