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Stage winner Peter Velits (HTC - Columbia) uncorks the bubbly.
Twin brothers together for entire career
Peter Velits didn't have any wins in 2011 and didn't come close to repeating his podium finish in the Vuelta a Espana, but was still satisfied with the season overall. The Slovak is now looking forward to his future at Omega Pharma-Quick Step, accompanied as always by his twin brother Martin.
The twins have been together their entire careers, starting with a year at Team Wiesenhof, two years each at Milram and HTC, and now going on to the Belgian team. “We feel good riding on the same team,” he told Radsport-News.com.
“Besides, I simply can't image riding against Martin in race. And in the meantime the teams don't ask for one of us, but they want both Velits brothers in a package deal...”
Velits' 2011 season was mainly marked by illness and injury. He caught a bad cold at the Tour of Algarve, which refused to go away. It was followed by muscle problems with kept him out of the Ardennes Classics.
The injury hampered his lead-up to the Tour de France, where he finished 19th overall. “I had expected something more,” he admitted. “I think the team was satisfied with my GC ranking and I did the work that the team expected of me.”
The two years at HTC taught the brothers a lot, starting with the impact a new position on the bike can have. They took advantage of “all the knowledge the team offered us. That's why it is too bad that it didn't continue. We were a great group with talented people.”
They will meet many familiar faces at their new team, not only riders like Matthew Brammeier, Bert Grabsch, Tony Martin and Frantisek Rabon, but also many of the support staff.
Neither of the Belgian teams which combine to make Omega Pharma-Quick Step has been known as a stage race team, but that could now change. “With Levi Leipheimer, Tony Martin and Kevin de Weert we could form a strong team with a view to the GC in the grand tours."
Velits' main goal for the year will be the Tour de France, where “I will of course try to bring in the best possible result.”
He knows, too, that new boss Patrick Lefevere “expects to develop into a better stage racer than I now am. He calls Lefevere “a wise man, with much experience in cycling and he knows what he wants. I think we will work well together.”