After taking the World Championships Team and Individual TT titles, let us take a closer look at one of the most successful teams in professional cycling; Ettixx-Quickstep.
Although they cannot boast a large number of grand tour victories, like Team Sky or Astana, what Ettix-Quickstep do very well is win races. In the last five years, they have been the most victorious team on the WorldTour, with 50+ wins each year. What makes this team special and the reason I love them is their specific focus on first place. Whilst other teams race negatively by putting their resources into achieving grand tour top tens for the purpose of WorldTour points; Quickstep aim to see as many of their riders with their hands in the air come the finish line.
They have achieved this remarkable winning streak through numerous stages and overall wins in week long stage races, targeting one day races with their multiple options of Tom Boonen, Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra, and hiring world class sprinters such as Marcel Kittel, plus upcoming star Fernando Gaviria.
The Etixx-Quickstep team formally began in 2003, but was basically a reincarnation of Mapei-Quickstep, with added staff and riders from Domo-Farm Frites. Mapei had the iconic 1-2-3 in the 1996 Paris-Roubaix where all three riders finished together in the famous velodrome.
The new Quickstep team however started to achieve considerable success when Bettini won the sacred Milan San-Remo in 2003, which he then followed up with a victory in the Athens Olympics RR the next year.
2005 was Tom Boonen’s year of domination where he won the E3, Flanders, Roubaix and The Worlds. 2005 also saw Bettini taking the Giro di Lombardia, which he then defended in 2006. Bettini gave the team their next two World titles in ’06 and ’07. Boonen followed up his ’05 success with victories in the 2008, 2009 and the 2012 Roubaix. He also celebrated wins at the Flanders wins in 2006 and 2012.
Tony Martin has taken 4 ITT titles with Quickstep and the team itself has won 3 TTT titles. Michal Kwiatkowski gifted them their last World RR title in 2014. As you can see, these results are pretty special and make quite a long and successful list.
Tom Boonen – What is there to say about the King of Belgium that hasn’t already been said? He is possibly the best cobblestone rider to ever grace the sport, ridiculous to think he almost won this year’s Roubaix – 11 years on from his 2005 victory.
Marcel Kittel – Arguably the best sprinter in the peloton in recent years (don’t tell Cav that). When entering a sprint in prime position he is very difficult to come around, his ability to speed up further when someone comes up beside him is incredible.
Niki Terpstra – Although some people may not agree with my thinking that Terpstra is one of Etixx’s key riders, he was actually the last one to win a monument a monument??? (2014 Roubaix). He is the engine room of the team, very powerful in a sprint train or TTT unit. When he is on form he obtains big results, just look at his recent overall victory in the Eneco Tour!
Yves Lampaert – Not a key rider as such but in my opinion this man is on the cusp of some huge results; he will definitely win Roubaix in his lifetime. He has a big TT engine and a decent sprint which is a perfect makeup for a classics champion.
About the Author: I’m Will Turley (known as The Cycling Delegate on Twitter), a 17-year-old A-Level student with a slightly obsessive interest in professional cycling. I use the medium of twitter to provide race previews, race updates and analysis/thoughts for the majority of both women’s and men’s races. Follow me to take you through every race!