Quick Step recons weekend's rough courses

The harsh winter has degraded road surfaces

The Quick Step team set out to preview the courses for this weekend's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad only to find the harsh winter which Europe has endured this year has deteriorated the road surfaces.

Team director Wilfried Peeters wasn't worried that sprinter Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel chose to skip the reconnaissance ride, saying that he will be able to warn them about the potholes over the race radio on Saturday.

Stijn Devolder was one of the team's leaders who took part in the "tradition" despite some cold, wet weather. Devolder is part of a three-man attack squad that Quick Step has ready to tackle the Spring Classics. The former Belgian champion warned that his condition is not yet at its peak, but he feels it's better than at this point last year.

"I try not to peak too early," he said in a press conference. "My peak is in April because of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix."

Those looking to Devolder to perform in this weekend's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad or Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne may be disappointed. He said the course is perhaps not selective enough and a bit too short. He will look to the Three Days of De Panne as his final preparation for the Tour of Flanders, skipping Gent-Wevelgem in favour of the E3 Prijs.

The two-time Ronde van Vlaanderen champion fought off rumours that he's tired of playing second fiddle to the likes of Boonen and is seeking to leave the Belgian powerhouse team.

"The rumours are simply incorrect," Devolder said. "I'm very happy with the team I'm on."

Quick Step for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Stijn Devolder, Kevin De Weert, Nikolas Maes, Kevin Hulsmans, Jurgen Van de Walle, Maarten Wynants.

Quick Step for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Stijn Devolder, Kurt Hovelijnck, Iljo Keisse, Jurgen Van de Walle, Wouter Weylandt, Maarten Wynants.

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