At a press conference in the Unilin headquarters in Wielsbeke, Belgium, the Quick-Step brand announced they were extending their partnership with the Belgian Etixx-QuickStep team for two more years.
Unilin’s Paul De Cock, president of the flooring division in Wielsbeke, was pleased to announce the extended sponsorship deal on the eve of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
De Cock was flanked by team manager Patrick Lefevre, sports director Wilfried Peeters and the team’s two leaders for the Tour of Flanders, Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra. The team’s biggest name, Tom Boonen, was not in a front seat but also present in Wielsbeke, sitting next to Unilin board member Frans De Cock and the rest of the Etixx-QuickStep riders for the Tour of Flanders.
“On the eve of the Tour of Flanders – which is personally my most favourite race in the spring classics – we have a big announcement today,” De Cock said. “We are extending our partnership with Mr. Bakala’s team for the next two years. We had a contract that was expiring at the end of this year. All sponsors have committed to the end of 2017. Which means the team can continue in its current shape until the end of 2017, which is great news.
“We joined the peloton in 1999 as the sponsor of the Mapei-QuickStep team and since then we could not have found a better match. We had the honour of winning numerous classics. We wrote cycling history all together,” De Cock said, adding that his company and the cycling team shared the same vision and values.
“I think the perfect rider has a lot in common with a Quick-Step floor: a fine blend of robustness and style. What’s more, we share with the team a common passion for design and innovation as well as an eye for the smallest details.
“A victory on Sunday in Oudenaarde would really make us very happy to start the next chapter in our shared future.”
Lefevre was pleased the future of the team was guaranteed.
“Everybody knows that cycling fights to keep what they have, to keep sponsors like Etixx, Quick-Step and our other partners. To keep a winning team like we did in the past years is not as easy as everybody thinks. We started our season well and we’re currently second in the WorldTour rankings, scoring 18 wins.
“Quick-Step has been there since the very start of our team,” Lefevere said. “I believe our loyal and mutually beneficial partnership with Quick-Step is one of the most powerful in cycling. Quick-Step is part of the DNA of this team. Together we have written some great pages in cycling history and I’m sure there will be more to come throughout the next two years.
“We're proud to have two main sponsors with a profile that is so similar to that of our team: Belgian roots, but with an international impact and likewise recognition,” Lefevre said.
The Etixx-QuickStep team is one of the strongest cycling teams in the peloton. It’s most prolific riders of the moment are world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, spring classics specialists Tom Boonen and Zdenek Stybar and top sprinter Mark Cavendish.