Deceuninck - Quick-Step will be looking to hit the ground running in 2019 with Elia Viviani set to lead the team at the forthcoming Tour Down Under. The team will also look to James Knox for the general classification, but the Italian sprinter is their main focus.
Viviani claimed 18 of the team’s 76 victories last season, the first of which came in Victor Harbor on stage 3 of the 2018 Tour Down Under. The race will not visit Victor Habor this year but there will be plenty of opportunities for the sprinters to get one on the board in the opening part of the race, while the penultimate day into Strathalbyn will give Viviani and the other fast men another chance.
"Stage victories are the main goals with Elia first of all. It would be a good start to the year. He is very motivated as usual, but we need to see who else is there. There will be a few opportunities, but also changes in the course, including Willunga Hill on the last day now, which will impact on the dynamic of the race," said directeur sportif Rik Van Slycke.
"Our team is strong, and besides Elia we have Dries [Devenyns], who knows the race, and also James, who can have a bit of a free role for the GC if the legs will be there. We will take it day by day though and see how everybody reacts to the high temperatures in Australia."
With Corkscrew and Willunga Hill respectively, stages 4 and 6 should be a good hunting ground for climbers such as Knox. After stepping up to WorldTour level with Quick-Step Floors last season, this will be the first time that the 23-year-old Knox has ridden the Tour Down Under. With the focus on Viviani throughout the week, Knox will have an opportunity to ride for GC without undue pressure.
Joining Viviani and Knox are Dries Devenyns, leadout men Michael Morkov and Fabio Sabatini, Remi Cavagna and newly signed neo-pro Mikkel Honoré.
Decueninck - Quick-Step for the Tour Down Under: Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, Mikkel Honoré, James Knox, Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Sabatini, Elia Viviani.