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Etixx-Quick-Step announced its seven-rider roster for the Tour Down Under in Australia, January 17-25.
The team will leave many of its spring classics heavies at home — like Tom Boonen, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Niki Terpstra — and instead bring a squad of all-rounders and journeymen to the first WorldTour event of 2015.
The 2015 edition of the race offers opportunities for sprinters, climbers, and breakaway artists. “Gianni Meersman can take advantage of specific kinds of sprints, such as in a small group,” said Etixx sport director Rik Van Slycke. “For the climbs, we have David De La Cruz, Pieter Serry, and Maxime Bouet. Bouet did a good race last year, but crashed two days from the finish which prevented a top finish. We are sure they can arrive focused and ready to contribute on the climbs such as on Willunga Hill. Two riders who will complete the team are Martin Velits and Yves Lampaert, two strong riders for any kind of terrain.”
The Belgian powerhouse squad will also bring along Australian Mark Renshaw, who often plays the role of leadout man for Mark Cavendish. At the Tour Down Under, Renshaw may have free reign to mix it up in the sprints.
“[Renshaw] brings a little extra motivation that can play a role in the sprints,” said Van Slycke. “He even won the Down Under Classic in 2007 and won the first stage of Tour Down Under in 2008.”
Lampaert, De La Cruz, and Bouet are new to Etixx team, and Tour Down Under will be their debut in the black, white, and blue kit.
Etixx-Quick-Step team for Santos Tour Down Under
David De La Cruz