One of the busiest teams this winter has been the Belgian-based Omega Pharma-Quickstep outfit, who have recruited star names including Mark Renshaw (from Belkin), Rigoberto Uran (Sky), Wouter Poels and Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Jan Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard). Most significant of those is undoubtedly Australian sprinter Renshaw, who will reunite with his former HTC team mates Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin.
Cavendish has long insisted no lead-out man in the professional peloton does as good a job as Renshaw. With the Manx Missile targeting victory in the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France, before bidding to regain the green points jersey he last won in 2011, the reunion with his chief lead-out man from the HTC days will be vital. OPQS clearly harbour Grand Tour ambitions too, with this year’s Giro d’Italia runner-up Rigoberto Uran a likely contender for the maglia rosa in 2014, particularly as team director Patrick Lefevere has already claimed Cavendish will not be targeting the race, freeing OPQS to support the Colombian.