Omega Pharma-Lotto has been catching flack due its lackluster season that has included a paltry four victories.
That’s last among ProTour teams and even lowly Footon-Servetto has won more this season with six victories.
Three of the OPL victories are thanks to Philippe Gilbert, who charged up to the final hump Monday to pull the double, claiming victory and grabbing the overall leader’s jersey at the Vuelta a España. Gilbert defended the jersey in Tuesday’s brutal stage across Andalucia.
Sport director Henrick Redant defended the team’s performances so far through the 2010 season.
“It’s true, we haven’t had a lot of victories, but we won Amstel Gold, so that’s very important,” Redant told VeloNews. “It’s not so bad as anyone thinks. We have had a lot of lot of honor places. You need a team that’s consistent and always sticking together, that’s what we have. We had a strong Tour as well. Today’s win is a big thing for us, for sure.”
Redant said the team has already fulfilled one of its main goals at the Vuelta with a stage victory.
Gilbert is at this Vuelta to prepare for the world championships, where a big win in Australia would more than make up for a lack of results during the season.
“It’s a big win. Phil is preparing his world championships through the Vuelta. One of our main goal was to win a stage and we’re already there in stage 3,” he continued. “I think Phil is on schedule for the worlds, that’s most important.”
Looking ahead to next year, Omega Pharma-Lotto has already taken a big step to bolster its number of victories. It’s signed a deal to recruit André Greipel, the HTC-Columbia sprinter who leads in number of victories with 18 on the season.