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SCHOTEN, Belgium (VN) — Maybe you’ve seen the hashtag. Or noticed it emblazoned on the side of the team bus. Quick-Step is now the “Wolf Pack.”
What started as an inside joke among some staffers and riders a few years ago has evolved into a major part of the team’s identity and branding image.
We asked Brian Holm, Quick-Step’s sage behind the wheel to get the scoop of how the Wolf Pack was born:
“It started in 2012 when I came to the team. It was a bit of a joke that I started using in some emails. There was a neighborhood gang where I was growing up in Copenhagen called the ‘Wolf Pack’ and they were some dangerous characters. The riders liked [the name]. It was going around the team for years. Last year, Bob Jungels started saying it during the Giro d’Italia. Then Alessandro Tegner [Quick-Step marketing director] printed up some hats. It’s taken off from there.”
Since then, the “Wolf Pack” motto has become an integral part of the team’s racing philosophy and branding. The team has come up with a Wolf Pack logo and will begin promoting Wolf Pack merchandising throughout the season. The logo appears on the team bus as well as its jersey.
“I really liked the idea of it. In other sports, you have these names and mascots,” Holm explained. “It’s the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Miami Dolphins. In cycling, you have a bit of it when Garmin started with its argyle. It’s a nice trademark to have on the jersey. It’s too bad that we don’t have more of these traditions in cycling.”
The team has taken on the “Wolf Pack” mentality. Quick-Step races as a team and celebrates its victories collectively. Of course, a motto isn’t why the team is winning, but Holm said it reflects the values and spirit the team is building inside the team bus.
“It’s quite a strong image, isn’t it?,” Holm said. “You don’t laugh when the wolf pack is coming. It’s a good name. One doesn’t want to be known as the ‘White Ponies,’ do you?”
Cycling teams over the years have earned nicknames. Some are thrust upon them (think “Bjarne’s Army”) or others through derision (“The Blue Train”). There was controversy at the Tour de France when journalists started calling Tony Martin “Der Panzerwagen,” which rubbed some people with living memories of World War II the wrong way.
“Everyone seems happy with the [Wolf Pack] name,” Holm said. “There are some inside jokes around the peloton about teams. There is one team called the ‘hair-dressers.’ Quick-Step is always about loyalty first. That’s why the name really sticks.”
Quick-Step’s ferocious appetite certainly isn’t slowing down despite gorging at the trough all the way across the spring classics. The team is winning on all fronts. Even with the A-team is taking a breather following Sunday’s big win at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Julian Alaphilippe won the opening two stages at the Tour of the Basque Country and Fabio Jakobsen won Scheldeprijs on Wednesday.
So if Quick-Step is indeed a wolf pack, who is the Alpha Male? Holm didn’t hesitate.
“Philippe Gilbert, no doubt about it,” Holm said. “From the very first day he came to the team, he is the leader. Who do you see racing without gloves? It’s Gilbert. Everyone was shaking their heads when he attacked last year at Flanders. He made it, didn’t he? He is one hard bastard.”