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Prototype wheels and saddles, cunning fixes and an arachnid
A custom stars-and-stripes machine for the triple national champion
From cocaine-fueled gangster themes to tiny details on the hubs
New brand Kemo cracks into the Tour with Bretagne
British champion Mark Cavendish in full flight at his team's training camp in Calpe
Mark Renshaw to bolster Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprint train at race
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step will be hoping to dial in their sprint train as early as possible with Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Renshaw on hand to lead out British national champion Mark Cavendish. The team will also be hoping that World time trial champion Tony Martin, who will contest his first race against the clock of 2014 on Stage 1, can add another win to his palmares as help the Belgian outfit dominate the first edition of the Dubai Tour, from Feb 5-8.
"We are quite excited to go there for the first time," Sport Director Brian Holm said. "A few of our riders like Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin have already been there and they kind of know the city and the country and are very motivated to go there. For Mark, he will have his first chance to rely on both Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Renshaw in his leadout train.
"Cav and Renshaw have a lot of history and, combined with a veteran like Peta, we're hoping to have a fair chance for success in a race with so many sprint opportunities."
Holme said that while the team would focus on getting Cavendish across the line first as often as possible, Martin will be given the opportunity to go for the time trial win. "As for Tony, he had a special experience last year when he actually competed against a horse in an exhibition, which was a really nice introduction of cycling to Dubai. Now he can come back and also show Dubai how strong he is against other riders," Holme said.
"This will be his first chance to time trial since wrapping up an incredible 2013, which included his third straight UCI World ITT Championship. I am sure he is really focused and wants to take that momentum into his debut in Dubai, even if the first stage is a prologue. He is ready and it will be close. Overall the team is happy to go there, as we can be competitive in every situation."
The Omega Pharma-Quick Step team for the inaugural Dubai Tour is: Julien Vermote, Martin Velits, Alessandro Petacchi, Wout Poels, Mark Renshaw, Nikolas Maes, Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin