Trofeo Platja de Muro: Meersman Makes it a Two-Win Day for OPQS
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Gianni Meersman added to the tally of OPQS victories in just a few days, taking the sprint victory at 162km Trofeo Platja de Muro on Wednesday.
OPQS took control of a front group in the final kilometers in hopes of a second straight victory at Trofeo Mallorca, following Michal Kwiatkowski's solo win on Tuesday. The front group was down to 45 riders with 26km to go and the team made sure it was always a factor in the remainder of the race.
Meersman went on to beat Fran Ventoso (Movistar Team) and Ben Swift (Team Sky).
OPQS has now won seven races — in three disciplines — in 2014. All five road victories were at Tour of Qatar and Trofeo Mallorca. Meersman also has an important addition to his palmares, as this is the earliest he's won a race in any season.
"It was a hard race with a group on a breakaway from the beginning including Serge Pauwels," Meersman said. "Sky controlled the race. At the bottom of the last climb there was an acceleration. During the climb we were there with 40 or more guys and in the last 15km the team took the initiative. We had six or seven guys in the front and we worked together like a great team. They brought me to the last kilometers. In the final kilometer Michal Kwiatkowski led me into the best position to do my sprint. At that point I launched and managed to beat Ventoso and Swift, finishing the job of my team. I am very happy about this team. Everybody was in the front from the beginning until the end. Everybody is motivated and the atmosphere is really good, even among the staff. Today we knew everything about the finish — all the small details. The team trusts in me and it's really nice to ride for a team like that, where everybody knows their position and that we have common goals. I think that this victory paid off also the work I did during the winter. It's my third race of the season and I've already won a race, so it's nice. My next race will be Classic Sud-Ardeche, and I carry great morale from Mallorca as I take my next steps."
OPQS Sport Director Tom Steels said he is proud of how the team is performing as a unit.
"With this group, we knew we had a good and competitive team that sticks together all the time," Steels said. "We've won two stages with Kwiatkowski and Meersman, but we were protagonists always, even in the first two stages. We were also intelligent in the race. This team is a presence in all the situations, and are really united. They work so well together, and it is a pleasure to lead a team like that."
For full results, see the cyclingnews article here