“It would be in our advantage to the course early to break open,” said Niki Terpstra (33) Friday at the press conference of Quick Step Floors in Wielsbeke, two days before the Tour of Flanders. The Dutchman is one of the leaders in the team of Patrick Lefevere, but what is the division of roles?
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Everyone is expecting that Quick-Step Floors also Sunday, again the price will bear. “Hopefully we can three or four men in the final drive. And then we have to demarreren and create chances. It sounds simple, but the quality must be there at the end,” says the winner of the E3 Harelbeke.
“We should especially on the right moment to attack. In advance, you don’t know when that is. As we approach the final weeks of a strong block, it would be in our advantage to the course early to break open”, continued the Dutchman, last year third in the Tour of Flanders. In 2015, he came as second over the finish in Oudenaarde.
There is no pronounced leader at Quick-Step, with addition Terpstra, Philippe Gilbert, Yves Lampaert and Zdenek Stybar as important pawns. “We have enough experience to avoid that there is a competition within the team arises. Of course, it is also not the case that the first demarreert the course wins. Otherwise you would already there in Antwerp, walk away. It doesn’t work. Fortunately, we are not jealous of each other, we give each other the victory,” decided Terpstra, 2014 winner of Paris-Roubaix.
Gilbert: “the Great unity in the team”
Philippe Gilbert (35) last year won the Tour of Flanders after an impressive solo. “Last week I was good in the E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, even though I won’t. But the feeling was not like last year,” he said Friday at the press conference of Quick Step Floors in Wielsbeke. The past few days trained to Gilbert in his hometown of Monaco.
In 2017 grabbed Gilbert the flowers after a stunning solo, which started on 50 km of Oudenaarde. “The important thing is that on Sunday one of us wins. We will do our best and we always take our responsibility. Some other teams don’t do that. That we accept, even though it is not always logical. We are going to try the course to push in a direction that we desire.”
Since this season allowed the teams only seven instead of eight riders second. “It is more difficult to koersbegin to check. The first hour of a course is always interesting, and now even more with only seven men. In Gent-Wevelgem jumped everyone in the beginning. We want Sunday’s escape check, with the right guys in it. I’m not saying that we were the first it will drag you down. But at a given moment, should it occur, preferably as late as possible.”
The team of Patrick Lefevere is on paper by far the strongest team for the Tour of Flanders, with Yves Lampaert, Niki Terpstra, and Zdenek Stybar. “We allowed a lot of confidence. You will see that there is a great unity in the team. Everyone is concentrated. Wednesday, I have only 15 kilometers of Dwars door Vlaanderen seen. I was glad that Yves Lampaert managed to win. But the race I didn’t have something special learned Sunday. It’s always the same 15 to 20 names that’s coming back.”
Lampaert: “That unity with us is sincere”
Wednesday brought Yves Lampaert with his second consecutive victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen already for the twentieth seizoenszege of Quick-Step Floors. “I have a lot of confidence for Sunday. Though the Round is still of a different caliber than Straight through Flanders”, showed the West-Flemish again. “I think the chances are pretty large that there is a rider from Quick-Step will triumph, because we have the luxury to have four pawns out to play.”
A lot of teams are aiming indeed at one cyclist, Quick-Step Floors has four irons in the fire. “Tactical open a lot of perspectives. If you’re in a small breakaway or solo, does it feel good knowing that your team mates the hunting group driving. We hang well together in our team and are in the winning mood. That togetherness is with us, sincerely, all of you win, of course, like myself. Our biggest competitors are Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Michal Kwiatkowski, Tiesj Benoot, Jasper Stuyven, Sep Vanmarcke and Oliver Naesen if he will recover well. We are many who can claim the victory.”
“We should not be surprised by another team, and then we can for a hard final make. Physically, I am able to win the Round, but now is perhaps still a bit difficult,” decided Lampaert.
Stybar: “It is not, as a first escape”
Zdenek Stybar (32) finally, look impatiently forward to the Tour of Flanders. “I feel good, I am ready. The condition is rising. I should just go for it”, explained the Czech.
“With me the next Philippe Gilbert, Niki Terpstra and Yves Lampaert, there are four riders with us that the hand can win. Last year it was. There is not one rider in the team leader, which term, especially in the media. It is not that Phil after his victory a step higher than the rest, with all due respect for his victory, of course. When we Sunday attacks is irrelevant, as only the right ‘move’ is. It is not, as a first escape. Because by then you are already 50 miles off, which, of course, very stupid, and a lot of energy would be wasting,” said Stybar.
Stybars best result in the Tour of Flanders dates from 2016, when he was eighth on the measuring reed. But the Church also has ambitions for Paris-Roubaix, which he has been two times second. “I’ve always had the feeling that the Round me better. But that is not from my results. In Roubaix, I was already often in the finals and I did all for the victory. But a preference I have not. Hopefully, the two beautiful Sundays. Everything will need to be there at the right time and in the right place. It remains to be seen what situations will arise.”