OPQS to La Vuelta a España
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will take part in La Vuelta a España, a 3,358.9km stage race from August 24th until Sept. 15th. There are six flat stages, a 27.4km team time trial, a 38.8km individual time trial, and 13 mountain stages. There are a total of 39 mountain passes and hills during the third and final grand tour of 2013. The 68th edition of La Vuelta also includes two rest days.
"We have a good, well blended team at the start of La Vuelta," Sport Director Rik van Slycke said. "We have the right mix of young and experienced guys. For the TT, we can count on Tony Martin and Kristof Vandewalle, who have had successful seasons respectively. Tony is the UCI World TT Champion, and has won almost every ITT he raced this year — including a stage of the Tour de France. Kristof is the two-time Belgian Champion in the discipline. So we can rely on them for the ITT, but also for the TTT which we are aiming for as the defending UCI World TTT Champions. We have a strong group of guys who will be prepared and motivated for the TTT that opens La Vuelta on Saturday in Vilanova de Arousa, ending in Sanxenxo."
"We also have strong riders for all other race scenarios," Van Slycke continued. "For example, Zdenek Stybar who is super motivated after his two stage wins and the overall victory at Eneco Tour. You never know with him. He can have a good performance in the middle mountains and try to go for the win of a stage. We can also count on Gianni Meersman. He has won five stages this year so far and is always dangerous in a certain kind of final. For the mountains, we have riders like Kevin De Weert and Serge Pauwels. They both prepared for this race and have shown they are in good condition for those kinds of stages. We can also count on Pieter Serry. He is a young guy at his first big tour and he can be a good helper on the climbs. He can go into this race and discover himself in the next three weeks. For the sprints, we have Andy Fenn who is also at his first big tour. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck is another young guy who is ready to show himself. It is important for Guillaume and Andy to be there to try and learn, and also be there for the last stage in Madrid. To finish La Vuelta will be an important objective for them, but they can also play a role in the flat stages even if there are not that many. Overall, we have both experienced guys and young guys who have goals for the stage victories."