Investment in young riders, research and innovation. These are the principles that inspire Mr. Bakala’s investment in cycling. 2013 was a key year in the development of this project, thanks to the growth of the Etixx-IHned Continental team and the opening of Bakala Academy. In its first year, Team Etixx-IHned took 18 victories. But more importantly, the project allowed two riders, Alaphilippe and Vakoc, to move on to OPQS for the 2014 season. Team Etixx (the official name in 2014) is guided by the same principles as OPQS. It is a true farm team in which young talents can grow step by step and possibly reach the WorldTour level, gaining critical experience and a deep sporting culture education, assisted by a staff that is always in contact with the OPQS staff.
In addition to the Continental team, there are two OPQS youth teams, the EFC-Omega Pharma Quick Step Under-23 team and the Avia junior team. Thanks to these two teams, OPQS Cycling Team has a complete supply chain from the youth categories to the World Tour, complemented by careful scouting activities.
Established in October 2013, the Bakala Academy aims to create a center of excellence to promote innovation and education in cycling and sports in general, as well as contributing to the development of sports within an international, cultural, and economic context. The academy provides high-quality services for OPQS Cycling Team, the Etixx Continental team and the OPQS youth teams, but all sports can benefit from it. Research and innovation inspire the facility’s operation, and the academy makes its expertise and services—the same as those used by OPQS Cycling Team—available to all athletes, whether professional or recreational.
Among the services offered by Bakala Academy, in addition to functional assessments and pro endurance tests, are services related to sports nutrition and mental coaching. Bakala Academy also has a unique Altitude Center with five guest rooms that offer adequate living and recreational space to create a comfortable habitat at simulated altitude.
The Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has enough range with Specialized’s elite S-Works division bikes for any race. Whether the Tarmac SL4, the Venge for races like Milan-San Remo, the S-Works Roubaix SL3 for the cobbles, or the Shiv TT for riders like Tony Martin, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step is prepared to win.