Australia’s Mark Renshaw will return to the Santos Tour Down Under next month with his Omega Pharma Quick-Step teammates.
The powerful sprinter was today named in the seven-man roster heading to South Australia in January.
Renshaw, whose 2013 season included a win at the Clásica de Almería, is known for his skill as a lead-out man for the world’s fastest road cyclists.
Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell said the Omega Pharma Quick-Step team also included Belgian rider Jan Bakelants, who won stage two of the 2013 Tour de France and held the yellow jersey for stages three and four.
“The mix of different nationalities competing in the Santos Tour Down Under helps make it the great event it is,” Mr Bignell said.
“Mark Renshaw is a popular rider whose sprint finishes are legendary, and he’ll be joined by a team eager to make their mark in 2014.”
Omega Pharma Quick-Step rider Serge Pauwels, who won the mountains classification at the 2007 Santos Tour Down Under, will return in January and is likely to have his sights set on climbs such as Corkscrew and Menglers hills.
The lineup named today includes young French rider Julian Alaphilippe and 23-year-old British sprinter Andrew Fenn, whose accolades as a junior included twice being named European champion.
“The team we’ll see here in South Australia has a good mix of strengths and fans can look forward to seeing them tackle challenging new routes through Adelaide and our regions,” Mr Bignell said.
The team will fly from Amsterdam to Adelaide under the direction of Sports Director Rik Van Slycke.
“The routes won’t be much different that what we saw in the last edition of the race,” explains Mr Van Slycke.
“We’ll have a few days in Australia before the race to adjust to the jet lag and take advantage of the good weather to train. The squad will have an athlete like Mark Renshaw, who will be highly motivated for his hometown race, in which he’s already done well in the past.
“Next to him we’ll have Trentin and Fenn, the young Alaphilippe, in his first race as a pro, and Verona. Experience on the team will be guaranteed by Bakelants and Pauwels.
“The goal is to stand out as major players from the get go and try to obtain a victory right away. It will be an important way to get the season of to the best possible start,” he said.
Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag said the Tour Down Under represents the start of the new season, an important race for the team to make its first mark.
“The guys who are going there are really looking forward to the race. Compared to the rest of the team, their preparation is more advanced so they will be in shape for the race,” he said.
“On the squad we have a good mix of expert riders and young athletes who can really benefit from this experience.”
The Omega Pharma Quick-Step team for the Santos Tour Down Under will be led by manager Rik Van Slycke and includes riders Julian Alaphilippe (France), Jan Bakelants (Belgium), Andrew Fenn (Great Britain), Serge Pauwels (Belgium), Mark Renshaw (Australia), Matteo Trentin (Italy) and Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spain).
The Santos Tour Down Under will be held in Adelaide and regional South Australia from 19-26 January 2014.
Visit www.tourdownunder.com.au for all event information.