Brian Holm brought six riders from HTC-Highroad over to Omega Pharma-Quick Step, but one of the biggest names didn't make the jump with him. The Belgian team wanted to sign World champion Mark Cavendish, but the British connection proved too strong.
“We tried with Mark Cavendish, but there was so much pressure from England from the British Olympic Committee and Sky , that it was impossible to pick him up,” team manager Patrick Lefevere told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
Holm was ready for a new challenge after the demise of the US-based HTC-Highroad team, and his contacts to the riders was one of the reasons Lefevere was so eager to have the Dane as a sport director. “He was important for me so that I could get people like Tony Martin into the team. Brian was the first who came and then was followed by the riders,” Lefevere said.
In all, six riders came over with Holm from HTC-Highroad: World time trial champion Tony Martin, Peter and Martin Velits, Bert Grabsch, Frantisek Rabon and Matthew Brammeier.
Holm had too much of a good thing at HTC-Highroad. The team simply won too much. “We won between 50 and 80 races a year and when we did not win, it was a bad day. I sensed that it could not go on like that. There should be something new. We were all spoiled all,” he said.
“I would be lying if I said that it has not been good for my motivation. I had been at T-Mobile since 1993, and now there are new challenges. It's fun to try something new and have a completely different setup.”
He added that “Quick Step is the last team I would have mentioned, if you had asked me a year ago. I came to a team that won seven races in 2011. It's a huge challenge to change that. But we have already won several,”
In 2011, HTC-Highroad led all teams with 56 victories. Omega Pharma-Lotto had 29, many of them due to the now-departed Philippe Gilbert, while Quick Step had only seven. Omega Pharma-Quick Step currently leads the ranking, with 10 wins so far in the young season.