Go-go Gaviria: Analysing the Quick-Step squad for the Tour de France

Colombian sprinter leads the Belgian team's charge for stage wins

This is a perfect 'jack of all trades' team, and not in a negative way. Quick-Step Floors are going to win stages at this year's Tour de France, and possibly a lot of them: five, six, seven, or more. And many of those may come from Tour debutant Fernando Gaviria on the sprint stages.

But every single rider on the roster is capable of taking a stage win, and they may well all get the opportunity to at least try. Has a team ever won half of the stages on offer at the Tour? Quick-Step arrive at this year's race with the firepower to do just that, stretching their riders' abilities across the Tour's terrains to line themselves up to win almost anywhere.

Tim Declerq and Max Richeze are perhaps the two riders least likely to get their own opportunities. Declerq will be expected to work to keep things together for Gaviria's sprint attempts, while Richeze will be Gaviria's main lead-out man. But should anything befall Gaviria, the experienced Richeze will be expected to step in to the breach and chase sprint victories.

It will be interesting to see how much, or how often, the other big names on the team – Philippe Gilbert, Niki Terpstra, Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels – are expected to put themselves on the line to help Gaviria. The Colombian will inevitably be in the mix on the flat stages, and if he doesn't win the opening stage, the chances of it happening in the first week are nevertheless high.

Jungels could well be a serious GC contender one day, but the fact that there's not really anyone on the team that would be able to support him come the high mountains, if he can keep step with the bigger GC names, demonstrates that he's not yet going to be at the level he one day hopes to attain.

Gaviria, at only 23 years old, is the youngest member of the Tour squad, and is the real star of the team, if it has to have one. But the truth is, this is a team of winners, and their new 'Wolfpack' moniker means it's a classic case of 'one for all, and all for one'.

With the team's clear strength in depth, they must be considered one of the big favourites for the stage 3 team time trial, too. Sit back, enjoy, and watch the stage wins roll in.

Bob Jungels pulls through in Quick-Step Floors TTT

Quick-Step Floor's Tour de France team

Name: Fernando Gaviria
Position: Sprinter
Nationality: Colombia
Age: 23
Experience: Gaviria's first Tour de France, but his second Grand Tour, after winning four stages at the 2017 Giro d'Italia. Lack of Tour experience shouldn't equal a lack of stage wins…

The Colombian sprinter – somewhat of an anomaly in itself – comes to this year's Tour with a very real opportunity to upset the established sprinting apple cart. Believe the hype, because Gaviria could well be this summer's most prolific sprinter, and simply off the back of stage wins may be able to take home the green jersey. While featuring as a young addition to a rather more experienced squad, the 23-year-old is nevertheless likely to receive plenty of assistance from his teammates, who recognise that Gaviria is the real deal, and will take stage victories with their help.

Name: Bob Jungels
Position: Team leader
Nationality: Luxembourg
Age: 25
Experience: Has ridden the Tour once, in 2015, finishing 27th overall

Without trying to sound unfair, team leader status for Jungels is a little bit of a stretch. Trying him out at the Tour at the centre of the team's GC attempts may bear fruit: Jungels has of course tasted what it's like to lead a Grand Tour when he wore the pink leader's jersey for a time at both the 2016 and 2017 Giro d'Italia. However, his best Grand Tour finish remains sixth at the 2016 Giro, where he also finished as the race's best young rider. Already a winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège this season, and still only 25, Jungels has a glittering future ahead of him. Cracking the Tour's top 10 would be a massive leap forward, and is perhaps one too far for this year, but stage wins are within his reach, as well as providing the team with serious firepower for the team time trial on stage 3.

Name: Julian Alaphilippe
Position: Super Domestique
Nationality: France
Age: 26
Experience: Rode his first Tour de France last year, finishing 41st

Alaphilippe may well be Alejandro Valverde's (Movistar) biggest rival for victory on stage 6 to the Mûr de Bretagne, just as he was at this year's Flèche Wallonne, getting the better of his Spanish rival to win the race. Stage 6 has a very similar finish, and the two riders may be duking it out there to take the maillot jaune. Alaphilippe is a continually rising star, and can win seemingly at will in all but the big mountain stages, and is very similar in that respect to the more experienced Gilbert. He'll expect a stage win somewhere along the way.

Name: Philippe Gilbert
Position: Super Domestique
Nationality: Belgium
Age: 35
Experience: Has started eight Tours de France, and won the opening stage and wore the first yellow jersey at the 2011 race, which also started on Noirmoutier, like this year

On any other team, Gilbert, at 35, would be a shoo-in for the 'road captain' role. However, Gilbert is still very much capable of winning stages at this Tour, and won't let any opportunities pass him by, while also providing valuable assistance to his teammates all the way to Paris. Eight Tour starts bring valuable experience, and his 2011 Tour stage victory will be something he'll want to add to, and help his younger teammates to experience, too.

Name: Niki Terpstra
Position: Super Domestique
Nationality: Netherlands
Age: 34
Experience: Six Tour starts, and 12 Grand Tour starts in total

Terpstra is an obvious choice as a pick for the cobbled ninth stage to Roubaix, but this year's Tour of Flanders champion is capable of winning any of the tougher stages in the opening week. Terpstra is a through-and-through Classics rider who last started the Tour in 2014, so don't expect the Dutchman to be thinking long-term. He'll be active during the first half of the race, and the 34-year-old may even find himself with the opportunity to take the yellow jersey.

Name: Max Richeze
Position: Domestique
Nationality: Argentina
Age: 35
Experience: Two Tour starts, but nine Grand Tours in all of mixing it with the best in bunch sprints

Richeze's raison d'être at this year's Tour will be to lead out Gaviria for stage wins, although the experienced Argentinian sprinter has already proven this season that, at 35, he still has what it takes to win with victory on a sprint stage of the Vuelta a San Juan Internacional on home soil in January. Richeze helped Gaviria to his four stage wins at last year's Giro d'Italia, and then did the same lead-out job at the Tour of California this year, where Gaviria won three stages. There's nothing to suggest that Richeze won't be able to do the same for the Colombian in July.

Name: Yves Lampaert
Position: Domestique
Nationality: Belgium
Age: 27
Experience: While Lampaert is starting his first Tour, he has ridden, and finished, the last two editions of the Vuelta a Espana

In a team made for the Tour's first half, Belgian national champion Lampaert would nevertheless do well to hold something back for the second half of the race, where he might rightly fancy his chances in the only individual time trial this year, on stage 20. Lampaert's strength against the clock is a big reason for his inclusion on the squad, which has a huge chance of winning the team time trial, as is his one-day ability, which has seen him win the past two editions of the Dwars door Vlaanderen 'semi-Classic'. Along with Terpstra and Gilbert, Lampaert is likely to be right up there on the 'mini Paris-Roubaix' stage between Arras and Roubaix on stage 9.

Name: Tim Declercq
Position: Domestique
Nationality: Belgium
Age: 29
Experience: Riding his first Tour de France, but is an experienced domestique

Big, solid and dependable, Declercq, in his first Tour de France, can expect to do the bulk of the work on the front of the bunch for Quick-Step during the opening week once he's emptied himself for the team during the team time trial on stage 3. Declercq is not one of the regular winners on the Quick-Step team, but he is one of those who allows others to taste victory, which is the reason for his inclusion. No slouch on the cobbles, the Belgian may also play a big role in helping Terpstra to try to win the ninth stage to Roubaix. A vital cog in the QS machine.

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