If there is a team that can do some serious damage at the 2018 Tour de France it's Quick-Step Floors, manned with some of the best riders in the world.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Quick-Step Floors
27 Jun 2018 - 11:13 AM  UPDATED 27 Jun 2018 - 11:14 AM

Sending classics, stage race winners and one former world champion the Belgian outfit will be looking to establish a winning platform during the tricky first nine days of the Tour.

Lining up are Julian Alaphilippe, Tim Declercq, Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert, Maximiliano Richeze and Niki Terpstra, riders who between them have won twenty races since the start of the year.

SBS will broadcast the Tour de France live in HD from 7-29 July. 

Now in his fifth pro season, Alaphilippe returns to the Tour de France after a knee injury prevented him from taking part in last year's edition and comes here with five victories under his belt, including Flèche Wallonne.

The punchy climber has been one of the stand-out riders of the Spring Classics, alongside Liège–Bastogne–Liège victor Bob Jungels and Niki Terpstra, winner of both E3 Harelbeke and Ronde van Vlaanderen.

The only Quick-Step Floors rider on the roster to have won a Tour de France stage, Philippe Gilbert, will also be at the start along with new Belgian champion and Tour debutant Yves Lampaert.

“With the guys we have selected for the Tour, we bring a perfectly balanced squad consisting of younger riders and more experienced road captains," said team director Tom Steels. "Common for them all is their world-class quality as bike riders, which they have proven countless times by being key players in the team’s successes.

“Niki and Phil are two big champions whose experience we will rely on when things get hectic and on the flat stages, in the TTT and on the cobblestones. They are not only leaders and winners, but very good team players, who can sacrifice themselves for their teammates, displaying that genuine team spirit which have led to so much success for our squad.

"The same goes for Tim and Yves, who will be important forces on the flat and cobbled terrain. Both have proven their quality in a Grand Tour last year and arrive full of confidence and motivation after a successful outing at the National Championship in Belgium.”

Declercq will add horsepower to a squad which will see experienced lead-out man Maximiliano Richeze lead out Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria to his first Tour stage win.

“It is no secret that we aim to take a victory with Fernando, who will debut in the Tour as well," Steels said. "He amazed the cycling scene last year by winning four stages and the cyclamen jersey at the Giro d’Italia, but the level of the Tour is different with the presence of the best sprinters, lead-out men, domestiques and helpers in the world. Richeze will be extremely important for Fernando, especially in the final kilometres."

With Terpstra, Gilbert leading on the flats and Gaviria taking care of the sprints, Quick-Step Floors will turn to Alaphilippe and Jungels once the roads start to rise after the first rest day.

“For Bob and Julian, it will be a second meeting with the biggest race in the world. After two successful Giro campaigns, where he won the best young rider classification in both 2016 and 2017, Bob returns to the Tour with a goal to see how far he can go in GC." Steels said.

"The same goes for Julian, who was sidelined last year due to an injury. As one of the most versatile riders in the peloton, we can expect a bit of everything from this talented young Frenchman and we look forward to seeing him racing a Grand Tour on home soil again.”