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International Teams of the Year: Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Rabo-Liv

Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Rabo-Liv dominate their respective pelotons in the 2014 season with well-rounded teams that won races all year

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Omega Pharma-Quick Step

Pro cycling has several big-budget “super teams” — Astana, BMC Racing, Katusha, Tinkoff-Saxo, and Sky among them — but in terms of depth, none came close to Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 2014.

The honor roll of OPQS victories is far too long to list here in its entirety, but among the team’s highlights: Niki Terpstra’s wins at Paris-Roubaix, Dwars door Vlaanderen, and the Tour of Qatar; Mark Cavendish’s 11 sprint wins; Tony Martin’s 10 victories, including time trial and stage wins; and Michal Kwiatkowski’s wins at Volta ao Algarve, Strade Bianche, and the world road championship. In all, 18 of 30 Omega riders won a total of 62 races in 2014.

By contrast, Movistar, which topped the UCI WorldTour team rankings, had 33 wins, by just eight riders, though the Spanish team placed high on GC in all three grand tours. Omega’s Rigoberto Urán’s placed second at the Giro d’Italia, but the team did not contend for the overall at the Tour de France or Vuelta a España.

The one major team victory that Omega Pharma missed in 2014 — one that certainly demonstrates team performance — came at the world TTT championship, which OPQS had won in 2012 and 2013. The Belgian squad finished third in Ponferrada, 26 seconds behind BMC Racing, and four seconds behind Orica-GreenEdge. In the UCI WorldTour team rankings, OPQS finished fourth, behind Movistar, BMC Racing, and Tinkoff-Saxo, but in our eyes, Omega Pharma was the best team of 2014.

Rabo-Liv

Given that two of the brightest stars of the 2014 women’s peloton ride for Rabo-Liv, it should come as no surprise that the Dutch squad is our Women’s Team of the Year. Both Marianne Vos (our Women’s Stage Racer of the Year) and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (our International Cyclist of the Year) call the squad home. But there is more to this team than just its outright stars. Lucinda Brand won the overall at the Energiewacht Tour. Anna van der Breggen won Dwars door de Westhoek and the overall at Festival Luxembourgeois du cyclisme féminin Elsy Jacobs. Vos started her road season later than normal, but still won the first edition of the Women’s Tour, and won the women’s Giro d’Italia, thanks in large part to the strength of her team. She also won on the Champs in the inaugural La Course by Le Tour de France. All in all, the team staked its claim as the squad of reference across the entirety of the calendar.