Quick-Step Floors launches Pop-up Store in Kortrijk
The event coincided with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad press conference, less than twenty-four hours before the first Classic of the season.
Since the start of the week, the Classics fever has been taking a hold of riders, fans and journalists alike, and this vivid excitement could be seen at the Quick-Step Floors press conference, which took place Friday afternoon, at the Ring Shopping in Kortrijk, where we opened the Pop-up Store, which will await fans over the next six weeks for a mix of cycling, fun and entertainment.
Dozens of journalists came to meet the team's riders, including Philippe Gilbert, who talked of the new route and the different scenarios which can occur in the last 30 kilometers, when the riders will tackle Tenbosse, Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg before the finish in Ninove.
"It's the first race of the season in Belgium and people are excited about it. Ok, Omloop isn't a Monument, but it's still one of the biggest one-day races of the calendar, beautiful and unpredictable. You can have a plan at the start, but something always happens during the race and makes you change it; that's why you have to be ready for everything, even if this means attacks coming on the Molenberg, on the cobbles of the Muur or a bunch sprint, which isn't impossible if we'll have headwind in the finale."
A double winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (2006 and 2008), Philippe Gilbert is also the reigning Ronde van Vlaanderen champion, and the fans who'll visit the Quick-Step Floors Pop-up Store will have the possibility to saddle up and try to emulate his time in the final kilometer of last season's race.
Another rider who can be a factor in Saturday's race is Zdenek Stybar, the three-time cyclo-cross World Champion who showed a good condition at Volta ao Algarve before gearing up for his fifth appearance at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
"We went on a recon today and it was nice to ride over the cobbles, but tomorrow it will be completely different, especially because of the weather. We're hearing of very low temperatures during the race, which means that the way you dress in the morning will be very important. I am in good shape, but same goes for the others, so we'll just see what tomorrow brings."
Dries Devenyns, Fernando Gaviria, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert and Niki Terpstra will also line up for Quick-Step Floors in Gent for the 73rd Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (196.2 kilometers).
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images