Quick-Step Floors announced their seven-man roster that will line up at the Tour de Suisse held from June 9-17. The Belgian team has won 10 stages, and aim to increase that tally with Philippe Gilbert targeting the punchy stages and Fernando Gaviria eyeing the sprints.
The team also includes sprinter Maximiliano Richeze, Tim Declercq and Iljo Keisse, along with Dwars door Vlaanderen winner Yves Lampaert and Enric Mas, who won a stage of Pais Vasco. The team returns to racing after spending time training at altitude ahead of the Swiss event.
"Most of our riders are just back from an altitude camp, so we have to see how they are easing back into racing," said team director Tom Steels in a team press release.
This year's nine-day race starts with an 18.3km team time trial in Frauenfeld and finishes with a 34km time trial in Bellinzona. There are two summit finishes in the race, on stage 5 up to Leukerbad and stage 7 to Arosa.
The 155km stage 2 to in Frauenfeld and 123km stage 8 in Bellinzona will cater to the sprinters, while the 182km stage 3 from Oberstammheim to Gansingen is said to suit the Classics specialists like Gilbert.
"The Tour de Suisse always proves to be a hard race and looking at the route for this year's edition it won't be any different," Steels said.
"We start with a TTT, which can be a nice opportunity for the team. It is a fast, relatively flat power road with only two climbs that are not very steep. I think we will see a very high average speed from the winning team.
"Apart from this, we have a couple of sprint opportunities with Fernando and for the rest it will be up to the climbers. We come with Enric here, who we saw shine earlier in the season when he won the final stage in Pais Vasco, on the mythical Arrate."
Quick-Step will field the sprint duo of Gaviria and Richeze, who will look to form the winning combination against other sprint teams that are testing their form ahead of the Tour de France in July.
Gaviria has shown to be in good form recently winning three stages at the Tour of California against other top sprinters Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin),
"Suisse will be also a good opportunity to work on the sprint train. Many of the contenders for the sprint stages in the Tour de France will be there, which means we have to be at our very best to get a top result with us from Suisse," Steels said.
Quick-Step Floors roster for Tour de Suisse: Tim Declercq, Fernando Gaviria Rendon, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Enric Mas and Maximiliano Richeze
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