OPQS Dominates Climber Parcours with Four in Top 10
11-Feb-2014: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Michal Kwiatkowski started his season off strong in Mallorca, winning Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana solo after just three days of racing in his legs.
The stage, which featured brutal climbing including Category 1 Puig Major approaching the final, was one OPQS dominated. Young OPQS rider Petr Vakoc started the day in a breakaway that stayed away for much of the stage. Kwiatkowski attacked, catching one other rider trying to bridge and the duo caught the group with Vakoc in the final kilometers. Kwiatkowski then went on solo, having as much as a 28″ advantage with just two kilometers remaining. He hardly lost ground going into the final for his victory. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) finished 2nd, 27″ back from Kwiatkowski. Francesco Gavazzi (Astana Pro Team) was 3rd.
“I am really happy because my victory repaid the hard efforts of the teams in the first two races,” Kwiatkowski said. “We didn’t win, but we were always in the front and fighting. Today we didn’t really control the race but we stayed the entire day at the front. Immediately after the start Vakoc went into the breakaway. The first two hours of racing were hard. But, Petr stayed in the first group and at that point we could take it easy behind. Then before Puig Major, Team Sky pulled to try and catch the breakaway. We stayed in the front with basically the whole team. When we started Puig Major we didn’t really set the pace. We stayed on the wheels of the other teams. When Sergio Henao (Team Sky) attacked alone, Serry started to pull and the rest of the team helped him. After 7 kilometers of the climb I attacked and caught Henao. We then worked really well together and caught the breakaway at 7 kilometers to go. When we caught them, Vakoc did a great job for me. He basically helped me and I was able to launch my attack at about 6 kilometers to go on the false flat at the top of the climb. Then I went full gas on the descent. I know the descent really well, so for me it was an advantage. I arrived alone and it is super nice when you can raise your arms in the sky for the win. It’s a great feeling and I am very happy about it.”
OPQS riders Gianluca Brambilla, Vakoc, and Pieter Serry also finished 4th, 5th, and 6th. This is the third straight day of victories in two different races for the team as OPQS is also dominating Tour of Qatar so far with wins for Niki Terpstra and Tom Boonen. Terpstra still leads the GC and points competition, and Guillaume Van Kiersbulck wears the White Pearl jersey for best young rider at Tour of Qatar.
OPQS now has five wins — in three disciplines — in 2014.
“This is my first race of the season and I have already a victory,” Kwiatkowski said. “I am really motivated. Everything worked well during the winter and training camps, so I am also motivated because I am healthy and happy about my job. In 2014 I was only two days at home in Poland. For the rest I was training or racing. So I am looking forward to the next races in 2014 with big morale, and when you can start with a good victory it is even better.”
Results from the Serra de Traumuntana Trophy,
a 152.9km ride from Deia to Monasterio de Lluc, Mallorca on Tuesday:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) 3h 50min 51secs
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/Sky) at 27 secs
3. Francesco Gavazzi (ITA/Astana) s.t.
4. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) s.t.
5. Petr Vakoc (CZE/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) s.t.
6. Pieter Serry (BEL/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) s.t.
7. Jesus del Pino (ESP/Burgos-BH) s.t.
8. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/Caja Rural) s.t.
9. Tanel Kangert (EST/Astana) s.t.
10. Sergio Henao (COL/Sky) s.t.