Belgian team to defend title in Florence
Omega Pharma-Quickstep announced its selection for the UCI Road World Championships team time trial, which will be held Sunday, September 22 in Florence, Italy. The defending champions will be led by Tony Martin, with Sylvain Chavanel, Michal Kwiatkowski, Niki Terpstra, Peter Velits and Kristof Vandewalle.
"The team will be perfectly captained by Tony Martin, [the] current world champion in this specialty, and we will also be able to count on the same structure that made up the winning team in the 2012 World Championships: Sylvain Chavanel, Niki Terpstra, Peter Velits and Kristof Vandewalle," directeur sportif Tom Steels said. "Michal Kwiatkowski is the team's new entry. The two backup riders will be Julien Vermote and Zdenek Stybar."
In preparation for the event, the team will take part in the GP de Wallonie on Wednesday to help riders like Chavanel, Terpstra, Velits and Kwiatkowski get over their jet lag after they raced the WorldTour events in Canada, while Tony Martin will sit out the race.
"It will also be a good chance to put in a final intensive effort before flying off to Florence," Steels said.
The team had a scare when Kwiatkowski crashed out of the GP de Québec, but Steels said his injuries were only minor, as were that of Vandewalle following a spill in the Vuelta a España.
Following the GP de Wallonie, the riders will assemble in Montecatini and immediately set to work preparing for the team time trial on Thursday afternoon.
"It will be important to memorize the route and the curves immediately. Until now the preparation has been going well. We carried out some tests in Zolder a few weeks ago and we collected some important information by doing a recon with our technical staff. Of course, the road will ultimately decide the race, but our goal will definitely be to defend the title we captured last year using all of our forces."