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Cavendish, Boonen headline Omega Pharma-Quickstep launch

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Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen have complementary sprinting talents

Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen have complementary sprinting talents (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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The 2013 Omega Pharma-Quickstep team

The 2013 Omega Pharma-Quickstep team (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Directeur Brian Holm

Directeur Brian Holm (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Tony Martin

Tony Martin (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Peter Velits

Peter Velits (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Tom Boonen and Tony Martin

Tom Boonen and Tony Martin (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Omega Pharma Quickstep's Patrick Lefevere and Zdenek Bakala

Omega Pharma Quickstep's Patrick Lefevere and Zdenek Bakala (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Tom Boonen ready for the 2013 season with Omega Pharma Quickstep

Tom Boonen ready for the 2013 season with Omega Pharma Quickstep (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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The press descends upon Mark Cavendish

The press descends upon Mark Cavendish (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Cavendish and Boonen are ready to team up for 2013

Cavendish and Boonen are ready to team up for 2013 (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Czech rider Zdenek Stybar has already won 'cross races this year

Czech rider Zdenek Stybar has already won 'cross races this year (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Kristoff Vandewalle

Kristoff Vandewalle (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Sylvain Chavanel and Tony Martin

Sylvain Chavanel and Tony Martin (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Zdenek Bakala at the Omega Pharma Quickstep presentation

Zdenek Bakala at the Omega Pharma Quickstep presentation (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Presenter Mark Coucke and manager Patrick Lefevere

Presenter Mark Coucke and manager Patrick Lefevere (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Eddy Merckx was on hand at his eponymous velodrome with Brian Holm

Eddy Merckx was on hand at his eponymous velodrome with Brian Holm (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Mark Cavendish was all smiles at the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team presentation

Mark Cavendish was all smiles at the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team presentation (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Peta Todd was on hand with Delilah Cavendish

Peta Todd was on hand with Delilah Cavendish (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Matteo Trentin

Matteo Trentin (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Stybar, Keisse, Cavendish and Chavanel in the front row

Stybar, Keisse, Cavendish and Chavanel in the front row (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Niki Terpstra

Niki Terpstra (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Tom Boonen stands up to the press

Tom Boonen stands up to the press (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Tom Boonen is hoping to return to the Tour de France in 2013

Tom Boonen is hoping to return to the Tour de France in 2013 (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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The 2013 Omega Pharma Quick Step Team

The 2013 Omega Pharma Quick Step Team (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Tom Boonen

Tom Boonen (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Patrick Lefevere

Patrick Lefevere (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Zdenek Bakala is interviewed at the OPQS team launch

Zdenek Bakala is interviewed at the OPQS team launch (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Iljo Keisse

Iljo Keisse (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Sylvain Chavanel was a popular interviewee

Sylvain Chavanel was a popular interviewee (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Tony Martin returns to OPQS as world TT champion

Tony Martin returns to OPQS as world TT champion (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Zdenek Bakala, the OPQS team owner

Zdenek Bakala, the OPQS team owner (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Mark Cavendish is happy to join Quickstep

Mark Cavendish is happy to join Quickstep (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Gianni Meersman happy to be back in the Quickstep fold

Gianni Meersman happy to be back in the Quickstep fold (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen at the 2013 Omega Pharma-Quickstep launch

Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen at the 2013 Omega Pharma-Quickstep launch (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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rans De Cock of Unilin, Marc Coucke of Omega Pharma and Belgian General manager Patrick Lefevere of team Omega Pharma - Quick Step

rans De Cock of Unilin, Marc Coucke of Omega Pharma and Belgian General manager Patrick Lefevere of team Omega Pharma - Quick Step (Image credit: AFP Photo)

Omega Pharma-QuickStep unveiled their 2013 roster at the Eddy Merckx velodrome in Gent on Tuesday. Team boss Patrick Lefevere and money magnate Zdenek Bakala opened proceedings with both men outlining their plans to see the team become the world number one squad in 2013. Last season, the Belgian outfit claimed an astonishing 60 wins, with complete dominance in the cobbled Classics.

Like a perfectly executed lead-out, marquee signing Mark Cavendish was kept in the wings until the end of the presentation. Alongside the team’s talisman, Tom Boonen, the pair were relaxed yet confident, talking up their chances of success for the year ahead, while keen to stress that they would work with and not against each other.

Cavendish opened with one of his most rehearsed but always appreciated sound bites: praising the structure and team spirit he has walked into. In truth, Omega Pharma offer him the stability and backing he was lacking at Sky, where, after Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France success, his personal ambitions were always likely to suffer.

“I’ve always got along with the riders and admired this team,” Cavendish said.

“You ask a lot of young riders, especially the Classics riders who they’d want to join and they all say Omega Pharma-QuickStep. It’s a dominant team in cycling and it’s a team that’s steeped in the culture of cycling.

“I’m more than happy. I was little bit nervous coming into it but I didn’t need to be nervous. They’ve been really, really great. It’s not like going away with work mates, you’re going away and enjoying yourself.”

The Brit wasn’t the only star on show, along with Tom Boonen the team posses the world’s best time trialist in Tony Martin, who was asked to recount the team’s win in the world time trial championships last year.

“It was a really special week for me because the year had been quite bad for me. I had not much luck then suddenly the whole season turned around with the win in the team time trial championships it was super emotional. We'll never forget that moment. The whole team was a unit and everyone did what they could and we won the title together."

The biggest applause was always going to be saved for Boonen, though. Like Cavendish, he was quick to play down any speculation of rivalry, stressing that Cavendish added a new dynamic to the team. As well as praising the sprinter’s speed on the bike he also talked up his teammate’s mental strengths. Boonen also opened the door for a return to the Tour de France, possibly as Cavendish’s lead out man.

“It’s a big change in the team in the team and Patrick asked my thoughts on Mark coming. I think it’s a big improvement and we needed someone like Mark. He’s the best sprinter in the world and this is motivation for everyone on the team to work even harder. I think it will be perfect stimulation and we’ll work together.”