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January 14, 2015 – For the third season Etixx – Quick-Step eschewed the stage and microphone approach to launching its cycling team. Instead they rode bikes. In Gent, Belgium at the Eddy Merckx Velodrome, instead of looking uncomfortable in lycra the members of the 2015 Etixx – Quick-Step squad actually raced their bikes. Mark Cavendish emerged as the winner over Belgian favorite Tom Boonen and new World Champ Michal Kwiatkowski after numerous races on a evening that was more exhibition than real elbow-to-elbow racing but still seemed to excite the sold-out audience.
Images courtesy of Etixx – Quick-Step and Tim De Waele
The team came up the idea years ago while training at the velodrome according to Tom Boonen, “”I think it’s a special team presentation. Not every team has the possibility to do this kind of thing, but as a Belgian team we train a lot here in Gent in the Winter, two times a week. That is actually how the team came up with the idea for this kind of event and three years later, here we are with a big success. I think everyone loves it. If you go to a normal team presentation riders go up on stage and talk about themselves, and that’s it. But here it’s like a six-days feeling. It’s a more relaxed and fun atmosphere than you would have at a typical presentation. Plus, because we are all competitive. Boys will be boys. Give them a bike and they want to go fast. That’s a recipe for entertainment. The fans get really enthusiastic about it and for the riders it’s also fun. It’s nice to have interaction this way. ”