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News feature, January 11, 2006

Let's get physical: Quick.Step-Innergetic ready for season 2006

The Quick.Step-Innergetic team
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image) The Quick.Step-Innergetic team  for 2006.

2005 was once again another unforgettable year for Quick.Step-Innergetic, a team in the limelight from January right up until October, winning at least one stage win in all three of Grand Tours, five classics - Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, HEW-Cyclassics-Cup, Züri-Metzgete and Giro di Lombardia - and two both elite world championship titles, time trial and road.

The team gained a total of 37 UCI calendar official race wins, 17 of which were gained on the ProTour circuit, and 11 Quick.Step athletes won at least one race during the year. Alongside the stars of the season, Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini, Nick Nuyens had a great year, winning five races including Het Volk, the GP Wallonie and overall classification of the Tour of Britain.

2005 was also the year in which Dutch rider Bram Tankink gained his first victory as a professional cyclist at the Deutschland Tour. Highly talented Filippo Pozzato also won the HEW-Cyclassics-Cup in Hamburg, the Tour of Lazio and a stage at the Deutschland Tour.

Patrick Lefevre (L)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image) Patrick Lefevre (L)  and Tom Boonen share a joke.

This season that has just passed is likely to go down in cycling history as the first Boonen era. 'Tornado Tom' took 14 UCI wins and six victories in secondary races, making a total of 20 wins throughout the season and becoming the first ever rider to win in the same season the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix and the world road championship, where he finished second on the UCI ProTour's individual ranking.

Madrid was icing on the cake for Boonen, having already gained some important wins in the second half of the season that included two stage wins at the Tour of France. It was in Spain that the Quick.Step-Innergetic Team also obtained a personal record with two world titles with Boonen and Michael Rogers, who won his third world time trial championship.

After Boonen's fantastic world championship victory, the season continued with "Il Grillo" Paolo Bettini's amazing finish to the season. In the space of a few days, Bettini won the Championship of Zürich after a never-seen-before breakaway and the Tour of Lombardy.

The team's Dutch riders.
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image) The team's Dutch riders.

The team's challenge this year will be that of repeating or even improving on last year's almost unbeatable results.

13 new athletes have joined the team this year. From Belgium, perfectly guided by national champion Serge Baguet, the following riders have joined the young rider's team: Jurgen Van De Walle, Kevin Van Impe and Geert Verheyen. Coming from Holland are Steven De Jongh and Remmert Wielinga; joining the team from France is experienced rider Cedric Vasseur; coming from Italy are under 23 world champion from Zolder Francesco Chicchi, Matteo Tosatto, who will be joining Tom Boonen's group, Leonardo Scarselli and Ivan Santaromita, who, along with the Swiss athlete Hubert Schwab, are the team's two neo-professionals. Last but not least is the Spanish champion Juan Manuel Garate, who finished in fifth overall in last year's Giro d'Italia.

With a team like this, Quick.Step-Innergetic are positive about having another fantastic season ahead of them.

Facts and figures

The Tom Boonen era
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image) The Tom Boonen era  has arrived.

In total, Quick.Step-Innergetic has 29 athletes coming from six different nations. The average age of the riders is 28 with the youngest Wouter Weylandt, who will be 21 until the 27th September; and the oldest is Davide Bramati, who turns 38 on the June 27. This year, Bramati will be leaving his position on the bike and will move into the team car as directeur-sportif after the finish of the Giro d'Italia.

The team also has six team managers, three medics, one PR officer, one press officer, six mechanics, six masseurs and one driver. There are also two people working in the team's operational office in Wevelgem. In total, the sporting group employs 53 people. The team's transport is made-up of 18 vehicles: two buses, one van, two service vans, five Peugeot 807s, five Peugeot 407 Estate cars, one saloon car, one Peugeot 307 and a VIP car.

This season, the Quick.Step-Innergetic team will take part in 88 races from the international calendar, making a total of 255 racing days. The first race of the season will be the G.P. of Doha in Qatar on the January 27, 2006. For the first time in the team's history, a small group of athletes will be travelling to America to take part in the Tour of Georgia.

A few more curious facts and figures about the team:

Bikes and components:

120 bikes at our disposal
29 crono bikes at our disposal
180 pairs of wheels
60 pairs of wheels specifically for racing on cobbles

Clothing used by the riders in one season:

8,000 cycling caps
500 gloves
450 pairs of socks
350 pairs of racing shorts
500 jerseys

Food consumed during races:

500 litres of olive oil
120kg parmesan cheese
1,000kg of pasta
22,000 drink bottles and 5,000 musettes

Team roster

Returning to the team from last year:

Paolo Bettini, 31 y.o. (Ita)
Tom Boonen, 25 y.o. (Bel)
Davide Bramati, 37 y.o. (Ita)
Wilfried Cretskens, 29 y.o. (Bel)
Addy Engels, 28 y.o. (Ned)
Josè Antonio Garrido, 30 y.o. (Spa)
Kevin Hulsmans, 27 y.o. (Bel)
Servais Knaven, 34 y.o. (Ned)
Nick Nuyens, 25 y.o. (Bel)
Bram Tankink, 27 y.o. (Ned)
Sebastien Rosseler, 24 y.o. (Bel)
Kevin De Weert, 23 y.o. (Bel)
Filippo Pozzato, 24 y.o. (Ita)
Guido Trenti, 33 y.o. (Ita)
Davide Viganò, 21 y.o. (Ita)
Wouter Weylandt, 21 y.o. (Bel)

New riders:

Serge Baguet, 36 y.o. (Bel), from Davitamon Lotto
Francesco Chicchi, 25 y.o. (Ita) - from Fassa Bortolo
Steven De Jongh, 32 y.o. (Ned) - from Rabobank
Juan Manuel Garate, 29 y.o. (Spa) - from Saunier-Duval
Ivan Santaromita, 21 y.o. (Ita) - neoprof
Leonardo Scarselli, 29 y.o. (Ita) - from Selle Italia
Hubert Schwab, 23 y.o. (Swi) - neoprof
Matteo Tosatto, 31 y.o. (Ita) - from Fassa Bortolo
Jurgen Van De Walle, 28 y.o. (Bel) - from Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
Kevin Van Impe, 24 y.o. (Bel) - from Chocolade Jacques-T Interim
Cedric Vasseur, 35 y.o. (Fra) - from Cofidis
Geert Verheyen, 32 y.o. (Bel) - from Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
Remmert Wielinga, 27 y.o. (Ned) - from Rabobank

Race programme up to July 2006

27/01: Doha International G.P.
30/01-03/02: Tour of Qatar
05-09/02: Challenge Mallorca
08-12/02: Tour Méditerranéen
12-16/02: Ruta del Sol
14/02: Trofeo Laigueglia
18/02: Tour du Haut Var
19/02: Classic Haribo
21-25/02: Vuelta Valenciana
25/02: Omloop Het Volk
26/02: Kuurne - Bruxelles - Kuurne
03-05/03: Record-Driedaagse Van West Vlaanderen
05-12/03: Paris - Nice
08-14/03: Tirreno - Adriatico
15/03: Nokere Koerse
18/03: Milano - Sanremo
19/03: G.P. Rudy Dhaenens
21-25/03: Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi e Bartali
22/03: Dwars door Vlaanderen Waregem
25/03: G.P. E3 Harelbeke
26/03: Brabantse Pijl
28-30/03: KBC Driedaagse van De Panne - Koksijde
02/04: Tour des Flandres
03-07/04: Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
05/04: Gent - Wevelgem
06/04: G.P. Cerami
09/04: Paris - Roubaix
12/04: Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen
16/04: Amstel Gold Race
18-23/04: Tour of Georgia
19/04: La Flèche Wallone
23/04: Liège - Bastogne - Liège
25-30/05: Tour de Romandie
03-07/05: 4 Jours Dunkerque
06-28/05: Giro d'Italia
15-21/05: Volta a Catalunya
24-28/05: Tour de Belgique
04/06: G.P. Gippingen
04-11/06: Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
10-18/06: Tour de Suisse
14-17/06: Sterelektrotour
18/06: Contre la Montre par équipe
25/06: Championnats Nationaux
01-23/07: Tour de France


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Roberto Bettini/

Images by Luc Claessen/

Images by AFP Photo

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