23-Feb-2014: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team had much to celebrate on Sunday, from Oman to Algarve.
OPQS won a third stage out of five thanks to Mark Cavendish outsprinting the field in 155.8km Volta ao Algarve Stage Five. OPQS controlled the race all day, working hard on the front to bring back the breakaway with 15km to go and putting the Manx Missile in ideal position on the right side inside the final kilometer. Michal Kwiatkowski also took home the yellow jersey following a solo victory and a blistering paced ITT win that solidified his leadership. The Polish rider even finished on the podium in the queen stage, further proving his strength as he rode well alongside all the top GC contenders on Alto do Malhão.
Last but not least, Rigoberto Uran completed his Tour of Oman campaign with a 3rd place GC finish.
The double win day for OPQS brings the 2014 total to 12 in three disciplines, and 10 wins for OPQS on the road in only a couple of weeks.
“I’m very happy,” Cavendish said. “We came here to win the yellow jersey, and to win the stage would be a bonus. We controlled the race and everybody rode incredibly well. Super strong leadout, everybody did their part. Alessandro Petacchi was the last guy and he dropped me off at about 170 meters, more or less. Perfectly executed. I’m very happy that Omega Pharma – Quick-Step could come away with three stage wins. We won the GC two straight years now. So, it’s really good. I think this is good motivation for my next races.”
“It’s my first stage race victory, so I’m really happy,” Kwiatkowski said. “I have been aiming for the GC in the stage races, so to start my season like this is a good sign. It’s going to be a good spring coming for not just me, but the whole team. I’m really happy about it. As for today, Cav was super thankful for the leadout, so I think he is just as happy as I am with the performance of the team. We controlled from the beginning to the end and we really did it well. I was safe, I even took three seconds at the intermediate sprint just to be calm if something were to happen in the final. Also, OPQS was successful beyond Algarve. I heard Rigoberto Uran finished 3rd in the Tour of Oman GC, which only adds to the reasons to celebrate this successful day. I am really motivated now and will spend the next days training in Spain in preparation for Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico. I’m progressing very well as I move on to what’s next on my race schedule.”
“I’m happy about this result and the support I had from the team during the race,” Uran said. “I was maybe hoping to do something better, but I also have to say that it’s not a bad result for real first race of my season. The team worked perfectly for me and I have to thank them for all of their work. I come back to Europe with good sensations finishing on the podium at Tour of Oman. I will do Strade Bianche next, and I am curious about it because I have never seen the parcours before. Then, I will go to Tirreno-Adriatico as the next step of my season.”