AT Austria 23 Sep 62.8 km

World Championship Team Time Trial

AT Austria 23 Sep 62.8 km

Quick-Step Floors win record fourth World TTT Title

Quick-Step Floors win record fourth World TTT Title

Our squad's amazing season continued in Innsbruck, where a superb collective performance netted the 69th victory of the year.

Kasper Asgreen, Laurens De Plus, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert, Maximilian Schachmann and Niki Terpstra put in a tremendous ride on Sunday afternoon in the last ever World Team Time Trial Championships for trade squads, stopping the clock in 1:07:26 after averaging 55.6km/h over the 62.8 grueling kilometers of the course and taking the gold medals in Austria, as well as adding the rainbow logo to their jerseys.

Victorious in 2012 (Valkenburg), 2013 (Florence) and 2016 (Doha), Quick-Step Floors were again one of the top contenders and rode with huge confidence as they left the start house in Ötzal, posting the third-fastest time at the first intermediate and using the 4.6km-climb averaging 5.6% which featured inside the last 20 kilometers to their advantage, pulling back time from the teams which lied ahead on the leaderboard and blasting through the last checkpoint just hundreds of a second behind first place.

On the fast descent to Innsbruck, the team hit crazy speeds of over 100 kilometers on their trusted Specialized Shiv bikes and by the time they arrived at the finish, improved the fastest time by a mile, going into the hot seat. With three more squads left on the course, the waiting was long and tense, but as soon as the last outfit crossed the line, the Quick-Step Floors riders and staff erupted in joy knowing the victory was theirs and the result they got propelled the team in the history books, as the only one to have won the crown on four occasions.

Sports director Tom Steels, the man who guided the squad to all these memorable triumphs which underlined Quick-Step Floors' remarkable prowess against the clock, talked of how he and team trainer Koen Pelgrim prepared the race, took us through this unforgettable ride – which saw our team put twenty seconds into the other teams to finish on the podium – Sunweb and BMC – and explained what this win meant for him on a personal level.

"After the course was announced, we came at the beginning of the year to have a look and get more information. Then we made a preliminary selection and began testing the riders in the wind tunnel. Last month, we simulated the flat part of the route, knowing it was important to go as fast as possible without losing too much energy, and this week we did a recon several times."

"The race was hard and we knew there was some pressure on us, but the boys can be proud of themselves, because when it mattered, they gave everything and showed the amazing spirit of the team. We rode hard on the flat, later on the first 1500 meters of the climb we saved some energy while keeping a steady pace, before speeding it up and then flying on the descent. We weren't the big favourites today, but this is what makes this victory so special", concluded Tom Steels.

Sunday's time trial was the last for trade teams at the World Championships, and for Niki Terpstra it couldn't have been a more fitting end, as the 34-year-old Dutchman claimed his fourth gold medal, a new record and an achievement on which he looked with pride and a lot of emotion.

After eight years in the team, this is the best gift I can get and give to the squad. We suffered a lot today, but it was totally worth it

"When we heard that we were just third at the first split, I thought how was that possible, because I couldn't imagine someone could have rode faster, but we didn't panic, because we knew there was still a long way to the finish and plenty of road left to gain time. We smashed it on the descent and I think that made the difference at the end of the day. A huge thanks goes to Tom and Koen, who made sure we had a great preparation for this event, which led to these gold medals. It feels incredible to win the last edition, but it's a pity we won't have this race anymore, because it's really special."

Having enjoyed one of the most memorable days in the history of Quick-Step Floors, CEO Patrick Lefevere was over the moon in Innsbruck, where he witnessed the team's 69th victory of the season in one of the most important and prestigious races of the calendar: "I can't tell you how happy I am. The tension built up as we waited for the team to complete their effort and then to see if we'll remain in the hot seat was really nervous, but now all this tension has evaporated and all we feel is tremendous joy and happiness. Knowing some of the riders we had today are leaving the team at the end of the season made things even more emotional and seeing how all of our guys together with this superb staff pulled it off brings a lot of satisfaction and makes up for a really beautiful moment."


Photo credit: ©Justin Setterfield/ Getty Images

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to World TTT Championships

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to World TTT Championships

This Sunday, Austria will host one of the most important races of the season.

For one last time, the trade teams will battle for glory and medals at the World TTT Championships, scheduled in Innsbruck, and Quick-Step Floors – the only squad to have won the event on three occasions (2012, 2013 and 2016) – will field an outfit consisting of three former winners – Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert and Niki Terpstra – who will be joined on the start line by neo-pro Kasper Asgreen, Laurens De Plus and Maximilian Schachmann, all riders who have impressed in this season's races against the clock, be it at the Nationals, in Grand Tours or at the European Championships.

Sports director Tom Steels, the man who guided the team to an impressive haul of five medals between 2012 and 2016, shared his opinion on the route of the 62.8km race – the longest since the discipline was introduced at the World Championships, six years ago – which will take the teams from the Ötztal valley to Innsbruck.

"It's a challenging course this year, starting with 40 kilometers of flat roads, where you really need to have the big engines that can drive a high speed. After this long section, you tackle 5 kilometers of climbing, which means the guys need to be able to hold on uphill too – and we even need to have a few guys who can set a high tempo. Our roster is therefore a balance between riders who can go fast on the climbs on a TT bike and are quite strong on the flat as well, and heavier guys, who are very good on the flat and will suffer more uphill. It's not a very technical route, but after the hill, especially in the last 5-6 kilometers, we will face sections with traffic islands and roundabouts, which require more focus from the guys to keep a good rhythm in the relay. It will be fast though and we will have to go flat out after the climb until the finish."

Valkenburg, Florence and Doha have an important thing in common: all three have witnessed a Quick-Step Floors victory at the World Team Time Trial Championships, and Tom Steels hopes that Innsbruck – a former center of European politics and culture and two-time host of the Winter Olympics – will be added to the list on Sunday afternoon, although he is well aware that the competition will be a fierce one.

"The Worlds TTT is a discipline that means a lot for Quick-Step Floors, we have won it three times and have always been up there in the top, so of course we hope we can finish with a strong result in what will be the last edition for trade teams, although we know it's not going to be easy", explained Steels. "We have a solid roster comprising riders who rate this appointment as one of the most important races of the season and are ready to give everything out there. It's a pity that the time trial for trade teams is coming to an end, but we are motivated for this final edition and we will go for the best."


Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images

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