Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
This isn’t the first time Specialized Founder and President Mike Sinyard and Quick-Step Manager Patrick Lefevere have partnered; the two joined forces for the 2007-09 seasons, with great results.
"During the three years that we worked with Patrick and his team the first time around, we won an amazing number of the world's toughest races," Sinyard said. “We won the 2007 World Road Race Championships, back-to-back Roubaix/Flanders victories and a Green Jersey at the Tour de France.”
“It’s true, no other team matched our achievements when we were together the first time,” Lefevere said. “And Specialized was a major part of those results by developing bikes and equipment that gave the riders a real edge. This level of excellence and team approach to creating what the riders need is why we are partnering again, for even better results.”
With the arrival of Omega Pharma, the top-level management team of Lefevere, Zdenek Bakala and Bessel Kok have assembled an amazing roster. Three-time Paris-Roubaix winner Boonen will anchor the squad’s classics team, with the French national champion Chavanel a proven performer in both big one-day and stage races alike. Current Cyclocross World Champion Zdenek Stybar is certainly one to watch — on and off the road. And Time Trial World Champion, Tony Martin, brings a new level of firepower to the squad, while Leipheimer adds his deep experience and stage-race palmarès.
Leipheimer said the Specialized partnership is like a homecoming for him. While on Gerolsteiner in 2005-06, Leipheimer rode early versions of the Specialized Tarmac SL to victory at the Tour of Germany and the Dauphiné Libéré. “I have really good memories about Specialized, and I’m super excited to go back and see all the changes,” he said. “The bikes get stronger, lighter and faster every year, it’s incredible.”
Boonen feels similarly about coming back to Specialized. “I’m very excited to be back,” said the former World Road Champion. “I know from experience, that the last Tarmac I had was the best bike I ever had. And the difference between the first-generation Tarmac that I rode and the bikes we have now is just huge. I’m very happy.”
The Omega Pharma – Quick-Step riders have a deep range of advanced bicycles and gear from Specialized’s elite S-Works division. Nothing is lighter and stiffer than the Tarmac SL4, which will be the team’s workhorse bike. The Venge, fresh off its Milan-San Remo, Green Jersey and World Championship victories in 2011, will be the perfect choice for riders looking to minimize drag. Because smoother is faster, Boonen and company will opt for the S-Works Roubaix SL3 on the cobblestones. The Shiv TT will provide the fastest ride possible in every “race of truth.” The S-Works Prevail helmet will be used in road races while TT helmets will provide aero advantage and protection in time trials.
Chris D’Aluisio, head of Specialized Advanced R&D, said the team relationship will be as significant off the racecourse as it is in the races. “The biggest benefit we expect from this partnership is building better bikes and equipment, because the best riders push us to continually improve,” D’Aluisio said. “Omega Pharma – Quick-Step will be a big contributor to the development of bikes and equipment that every rider will be able to ride.”
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