Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team riders Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse led 6-Tagerennen Zürich by points after the first day on Wednesday, but they took a step down on the podium in day two despite a couple strong events, including winning the first and second Derny Races.
Cavendish and Keisse will try to put themselves back in the lead on Friday, for Day 3.
6-Tagerennen Zürich Day 2
1 Dillier / Lampater Lerch&Partner 0 118
2 Cavendish / Keisse trioverde.ch 1 129
3 De Ketele / De Buyst Haba 1 124
4 Rasmussen / Hester Mapei Tevag 1 112
5 Muntaner / Torres Skoda 1 105
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team riders Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse lead the first day of 6-Tagerennen Zürich after racking up points on Wednesday.
The duo collected 74 points, and are one of three teams on the same lap thanks to good performances in multiple events, highlighted by an important win in the Team Elimination.
Keisse and Cavendish will look to defend their lead on Thursday night, which is Day 2!
6-Tagerennen Zürich Day 1
1. Keisse/Cavendish (GBr) 74
2. Dillier/Lampater (Zwi/Dui) 60
3. Muntaner/Torres (Spa) 47
4. De Buyst/De Ketele 62 + 1
5. Marguet/Kalz (Zwi/Dui) 53 +1
With 2014 nearing its end, and 67 overall OPQS victories (64 road, 1 cyclocross, 2 track), it is time to recap the best 10 moments of the season. While it was difficult to pick just 10 out of a highly successful year, these moments certainly stood out and deserve special mention.
Our third best moment from 2014 was Rigoberto Uran's victory in the individual time trial at the Giro d'Italia.
That day Rigoberto earned his place in cycling history by becoming the first Colombian ever to wear the leader's pink jersey after a fantastic performance.
"We had prepared for this time trial very well," recounts Uran. "A few months earlier we had come to get a look at the route with technicians from Specialized and my sport director Davide Bramati. At the time we also put a lot of work into what materials to use and in choosing the gears. The day of the race everything was perfect. We had studied the course down to the last detail. The route was entirely suited to my skills. It was one of the best days of my professional life, without a doubt."
Thanks to his victory in the time trial from Barbaresco to Barolo, and a series of strong performances in the last week of the race, Uran made it all the way to the second step on the podium on the final day in Trieste.
"That day was very exciting," continues the Colombian. "The square was packed with Colombian fans that came to Trieste to celebrate Quintana's victory and my second place. Those moments are unforgettable, as were the hundreds of supportive messages I received during the race."
Uran also established a record for team Omega Pharma - Quick-Step by becoming the first athlete on the team to make it to the podium in a major Tour.
"This Giro is going to stay in my memory for a long time," Uran said. "Once again I want to thank the guys who supported me during the race and the staff that held us together in the difficult times. In 3 weeks of racing, harmony among the team was of the utmost importance. And this team was exceptional for the entire race!!"
Velon aims to make the sport more accessible to all, to bring technology to the races and to promote stable, credible teams that fans can support long-term.
Today sees the launch of Velon, the first joint venture of UCI World Tour cycling teams. This group brings together 11 leading teams - over 60 per cent of the World Tour - to drive a financial model that, in line with other international sports, ensures a sustainable future for the teams.
To achieve this the group wants to bring excitement to the sport, allowing fans to engage more with the teams than ever before. Velon’s aims are for a coherent season that excites people from start to finish and uses emerging technologies, such as on-bike cameras, that bring fans closer to the action. Through Velon, the group will continue to work on partnerships with other stakeholders in the sport, including the UCI, the race organisers, and the AIGCP professional cycling association.
Velon’s founding members are Belkin Pro Cycling, BMC Racing Team, Garmin-Sharp, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Belisol, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, Orica-GreenEDGE, Team Giant-Shimano, Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing. The group is open to working with other teams that share their objectives and values, either to join Velon or partner with the company on new business.
The core ideas and objectives for the Teams in Velon are:
- More exciting sport: looking for a race calendar that tells a season long story, and is better understood by a growing international fan base, with more entertaining racing for the fans.
- New technology: bring the race alive from the rider’s perspective, showing the fans what it’s like from the saddle.
- Underpinned by sustainable, credible teams the fans can follow now and long into the future. Creating a new, better economic future for the sport, through collective action and increased co-operation between the teams and other stakeholders.
The company has been created to work on behalf of these teams for new business creation. Each team is represented on the board and Graham Bartlett (formerly of UEFA, Nike and other major sports brands) has been appointed as CEO.
Bartlett said: “The existing, sponsor only, business model is fragile for all teams. We need to change this to a more rounded one with fans at the heart of it, investing in new technological initiatives to generate greater excitement from the races and bring the sport closer to its fans. The company will look to use the combined commitment of the teams to create new revenues.
“This combined commitment can help to deliver more of what the fans want to see from the sport – exciting races brought to life with great technology. What we’re trying to build will hopefully create a virtuous circle where it’s easier for fans to engage with the teams and riders and gives the teams even greater incentives to maintain credibility.”
The first example of Velon’s work came earlier this year, when these teams got together to work with their riders and the race organisers to implement on-bike cameras during the races.
Bartlett adds: “This could only have been negotiated and delivered with the organisers by having a unified group. Initially co-operating with IMG for the Tour de Suisse and then continuing with A.S.O. at the Tour de France, the Vuelta and a number of other big races in the calendar.
“By using new technology, and by working very closely with the race organisers, the teams were able to capture fantastic, never seen before footage showing the riders in spectacular fashion and the response from the fans was even better than we expected.”
The Tour de Suisse on-bike camera videos syndicated to Cyclingnews and InCycle (which is also an IMG Media/Velon collaboration) were viewed over 1 million times. The videos from other races also gave significant YouTube traffic for the teams themselves, Orica-GreenEDGE’s Tour de France stage-5 footage, for example, was viewed over 108,000 times, creating significant interest for the team.
Fans and financial partners must trust the sport and the teams must be open, honest and transparent. The integrity of cycling is also the foundation for a healthy following, increased investment and further growth. This must be based on a sound, stable business model for the teams.
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, Bessel Kok (Board's Executive Chairman)
“Being the main actors of the sport, this is an excellent achievement for our professional cycling teams to unify and work together in a common way, to defend and mutually increase their commercial interests in the sport. This new commercial structure will allow the teams to develop a range of commercial activities and create additional revenue streams other than traditional sponsorship.”
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, Patrick Lefevere (team’s CEO)
“I am confident this can increase the margin of growth of cycling. The sport is growing year-by-year, and we need new and professional structures to be able to increase and defend our common goals. As teams we are competitors during races. However, outside this world there is a lot we can do together to gain more popularity and to become in the future one of the main sports, considering how many people love professional cycling and people who also use cycling as a recreational activity. The market is huge and this is the first step to improve and to enter into a new era for cycling.”
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, Mark Cavendish
“It will be important to make our sport even better, more understandable, and more marketable for people outside the cycling world. I believe that this kind of project is important to enlarge our fan base and to increase the awareness of our sport internationally, using, for example, technology as we show in the recent past with on board bike cameras.”
Omega Pharma - Quick-step, Tom Boonen
“I am looking forward to seeing what this can provide for the sport, teams, and the riders. It is important to create greater stability for the teams to give the new generation of cyclists a secure environment in which to develop into the stars of the future. It is exciting to see so many teams now working together to do just that.”
Velon is a business venture formed by pro-cycling teams, established in 2014 to foster longer term stability for its members and the sport. It is wholly owned and controlled equally by the 11 shareholding teams. Headquartered in the UK, the commercial organisation “Velon” was founded by Belkin Pro Cycling, BMC Racing, Garmin-Sharp, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Belisol, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, Orica-GreenEDGE, Team Giant-Shimano, Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing, with members of each team on Velon’s board. Its first project was to create on-bike camera footage for several UCI World Tour races in 2014.
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team riders Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse knew they needed a lap late in the Final Madison to win Lotto 6-Days Flanders-Gent, after a challenging week of clawing their way into the top overall spot and defending their leadership.
Kenny De Ketele and Jasper De Buyst entered the Final Madison as leaders, but Cav and Keisse went on the attack and reclaimed their place on the top step by getting a lap. However, with 20 laps to go, De Buyst and De Ketele again took the GC leadership. It was up to Keisse and Cavendish to go on the offensive once again as it was their last chance for victory. They did exactly that, and it was a close call for holding the gap and taking the crucial lap that would seal the win.
Unfortunately, the gap was too small and they were caught before the finish, which meant De Buyst and De Ketele won the Gent 6-Days and Cavendish and Keisse were 2nd overall.
The duo won the Team Elimination event earlier in the day, and Keisse also won the Derny event.
"I'm disappointed, but we were beaten by a great team," Cavendish said. "They were strong all week. It took me three or four days to get into a good rhythm after not racing track for 7 years. I told Iljo when we started after that adjustment time, if I felt that good at the beginning of the week we would win the 6-Days. I was trying to get my track legs back. We couldn't pick up the points early on that the other guys were, and in the end it put us on the back foot and chasing all week. But I'm proud of what we did coming back into the lead before the last day. Today De Ketele and De Buyst were too vigilant. At first we were on the defensive, trying to prevent them from getting a lap back. Then we had to go on the attack again. We tried everything, but in the end we were 2nd. But in the end I'm happy with how we did. I had the best partner and such a good friend of mine in Iljo. For me, it's an honor to ride with him. Also, the fans are incredible here in Gent. It's a special place. It's never been a secret I'm very fond of Belgium. I won my first pro race here at Scheldeprijs. I now ride for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, a Belgian based team. There's such a history of cycling in Belgium and I'm super proud to be here."
"It's been a hard fight, and in the end I'm pretty disappointed we didn't win," Keisse said. "Because it was a great final. I absolutely wanted to win with Mark. I feel a little bit sorry for him because it was an adjustment period the first two days and we were on a really good level the last few days. It makes it twice as painful. But OK, considering that, we still were in the lead for two days, had a strong possibility of winning the overall, and finished 2nd. There are plenty of good things to take away from this race. I was really looking forward to racing with Mark. It was a dream. He was in really good shape and I hope we can do this again in the future."
Lotto 6-Days Flanders-Gent Final Overall
1 Team Baloise Insurance
De Buyst Jasper - De Ketele Kenny 440 points
2 Team Omega Pharma - Quickstep
Cavendish Mark - Keisse Iljo 394
3 Team Caruur
Lampater Leif - Dillier Silvan 1 311
4 Team Lotto
Rasmussen Alex - Hester Marc 2 279
5 Team Topsport Vlaanderen
Stopler Nick - Vergaerde Otto 7 215