Quick-Step target Vuelta stages
Quick-Step have named their rider line-up for this year's Vuelta a Espana and sporting director Rik Van Slycke says the team is hoping to secure at least one stage win in the race.
“The formation for the Vuelta is essentially balanced, with athletes who have a good chance in the rankings and on the climbs, as well as a few stage hunters," said Van Slycke.
"Curacao national champion (Marc) de Maar, (Dario) Cataldo and (Kevin) Seeldraeyers are growing after their Tour of Poland and they’re ready to try to defend themselves in the general classification for the toughest stages in a Vuelta which promises to be one of the most challenging in recent history in terms of altimetry.
"Riding in their support will be (Kristof) Vandewalle, (Nikolas) Maes, (Davide) Malacarne and (Kevin) De Weert, who, after an excellent Tour, will try to make himself useful to the team and perhaps figure as a major player in some stages.
"The squad is completed by (Tom) Boonen, who is hungry for success and fine-tuning his conditioning for the World Championship; then there is French champion (Sylvain) Chavanel, from whom we’re expecting some good performances on the stages most adapted to him. The team’s main objective in to take home at least one stage and to try to get one of their men into the top 10 rankings of the race.”
The Vuelta starts on Saturday with a 13.5km time trial in Benidorm, and finishes in Madrid on September 9.
Quck-Step have also announced that former Danish national champion Brian Holm has joined the team as a Sporting Director for the next two seasons.
The 48-year-old has been a sporting director since 1999, most recently for the HTC-Highroad team.
"He always did a good job with all the teams he worked for. He is the type of person who is capable of motivating a group," said Quick-Step team manager Patrick Lefevere.
"Thanks to his knowledge he can contribute to the team’s improvement in the future.”
Quick-Step team for the Vuelta a Espana: Tom Boonen (Bel), Dario Cataldo (Ita), Sylvain Chavanel (Fr), Marc de Maar (Ned), Kevin De Weert (Bel), Nikolas Maes (Bel), Davide Malacarne (Ita), Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel), Kristof Vandewalle (Bel).