Also beaming were the alumni present in Wielsbeke to celebrate 20 years of Quick-Step sponsorship. Former riders Oscar Freire, Andrea Tafi, Paolo Bettini, Carlos Barredo, Mark Cavendish and now-directeur sportif Tom Steels were all steeped in the team’s legendary ‘vincere insieme’ (win together) philosophy that was created when the sqaud was sponsored by Mapei and continues to this day.
This year, the ethos has so far turned out 20 victories by ten different riders, with 7 out of 10 wins in the Belgian races. Niki Terpstra and Yves Lampaert have shown themselves to be on form with wins in E3 Harelbeke and Dwars door Vlaanderen, respectively. Philippe Gilbert, the defending Ronde champion, has yet to chalk up a win but showed sparks of last year’s champion in Harelbeke with second place. They can all aim for victory at the Tour of Flanders.
Team manager Patrick Lefevere stated that he doesn’t care who wins the race, as long as it’s a man in blue, or the man in blue-white-red – Czech champion Zdenek Stybar. The 32-year-old has bided his time as the perfect teammate in recent years, often protecting the winning move. This year Stybar hopes that he will finally become the man who profits from Quick-Step Floor’s team tactics.
“Of course I want to win myself. I still have the winning mentality. I still want to win a lot. In this team, it’s just not so easy. The level of the team is so high,” Stybar said, sitting down with Cyclingnews in the Quick-Step Floors showroom in Wielsbeke.
“That could be a statement from a frustrated rider but Stybar didn’t sound too frustrated. He actually enjoys seeing a teammate win the race.
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