Etixx - Quick-Step to Tour of Oman, Volta ao Algarve
Etixx - Quick-Step has announced the selections that will participate in Tour of Oman, from February 17th until February 22nd, and Volta ao Algarve, from February 18th until February 22nd.
The 2015 edition of Tour of Oman is a 989km stage race, which includes four stages that favor the sprint. Stage 4, 189km in distance, will likely be the biggest deciding factor in the GC as it starts at Sultan Qaboos Grande Mosque and finishes on Green Mountain (5.7km, 10.5%). Rigoberto Uran was 3rd in the GC in 2014. There is also 151.5km medium mountain stage 5, which includes varying ascents in distance of The Climb of Bousher Al Amerat (8.8% and 6.8% in the varying ascents) four times.
"For the Tour of Oman we ride almost with the same team as Tour of Qatar with only Martin Velits getting replaced by Pieter Serry," Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. "Tour of Oman has a different scenery than Tour of Qatar, which was all about flat stages and really windy. In Oman it's more uphill, and the finish of these stages will be pretty hard. Here you need more power and good climbing skills. For the classification we have Pieter Serry, who's coming back into competition after early season races in Australia. We have a few chances for bunch sprints, and in those kinds of finishes we will try with Tom Boonen. We have a really good team here with Niki, Matteo, and the others. After the good results at Tour of Qatar the team is ready to come here and do their best once again."
"I like Oman, it's very beautiful here," Boonen said. "After eating all the sand in Qatar, at a race I love, it's nice to come here and have a change of scenery with a little less wind. Tour of Oman is a bit more difficult with the climbs, but I will definitely try to go and win a stage when there is an opportunity."
Volta ao Algarve, 796.7km in distance, is an up-and-down race every stage. There is an undulating 19km ITT at Stage 3, from Vila do Bispo to Cabo de Sao Vicente. UCI World Road Champion Michal Kwiatkowski makes his return as defending champion, and having also placed 2nd in the 2013 edition.
"I think I came to Algarve every year since I've been a professional," Kwiatkowski said. "This is a well organized race, with good stages, good weather, and a short time trial. So it is good to race here. As for me, this race will be another step towards the first big appointments of my season. After Tour de San Luis I had three good weeks of training in Calpe, and everything is going as expected. But of course as the last winner of the race I will try to do my best to be in the actions maybe a few times. But in any case here we have a great team with Tony Martin, Gianni Meersman, and Zdenek Stybar for example. They are all good riders. The team is also in a good mood after nine road victories after only the very beginning of the season. Let's see what we can do, but as a team we will try to make a mark also in Algarve."
The selection of Volta ao Algarve is available here.
Tour of Oman selection is available by clicking "More Information."