Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Celebrates its first Grand Tour victory
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day and they are right. The superpower that came to dominate most of Europe, as well as parts of Africa and Asia, needed centuries – sprinkled with defeats and numerous setbacks – to develop into the astonishing civilization that came to leave its mark over the world even now, more than fifteen centuries after its demise.
Keeping the proportions, the same can be said about the Wolfpack. What started out as a team focused on the Classics – which in time have become our bread and butter – has now fully grown into a versatile and mature squad capable of fighting for victory in any type of race and on any type of terrain, including the Grand Tours. From picking up stage wins and distinctive jerseys, our squad found itself attempting what many years ago looked like an improbable attempt of conquering the general classification of such a race.
The 2014 Giro d’Italia and 2018 La Vuelta a España (and even the 2019 Tour de France) serve as examples of the team’s ability to morph into a real contender for these races which have mainly remained a dream, until this year, when a 22-year-old Remco Evenepoel turned them into something palpable, delivering a magnificent triumph that captivated an entire nation which had been waiting for a moment like this since 1978.
Demonstrating calmness, a clinical mindset, improved racing acumen as well as a fantastic ability to thrive under pressure, Evenepoel rewrote the cycling history books with each day spent in the lead in Spain, meeting all the hopes people had placed in him since his junior days and showing stage after stage that rare power to astonish that has led to all these expectations in the first place since his junior days.His dazzling success wouldn’t have been possible without a team, and not any kind of team, but the Wolfpack and the amazing fighting spirit deeply ingrained in our DNA, showcased over the past three weeks by Julian Alaphilippe – a World Champion like none other – Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, Fausto Masnada, Pieter Serry, Ilan Van Wilder and Louis Vervaeke. His teammates joined him on the podium in Madrid, where Remco collected a historic red jersey – but also the white one for the best young rider of the race.
“The emotions are still high. I can’t describe what it means to take my first Grand Tour and to be on the podium together with my outstanding teammates, it’s something really special that I will never forget. I worked hard for this, I made a lot of sacrifices and I’m happy it all paid off here in Spain. I’m proud to see the support of those at home, and I’m thankful for that, as I am for the fantastic support I have continuously received the entire time from my team and my family. I’m happy to be part of this superb team and overwhelmed with what I achieved”, said one of the youngest riders in history to triumph in a Grand Tour, who raced the last stage of La Vuelta on a stunning red Specialized bike that matched his prestigious jersey.
“At the moment there’s a lot of joy and lots of emotions, but I think it will be only next week when we’ll realize what we all achieved here. It means a lot, it’s a collective victory. Coming into the race we believed in ourselves and in our chances of getting a good result, but it was after the time trial – when Remco gained so much time on the others – that we began thinking it was possible to keep red and take it to Madrid. It wasn’t an easy race, for half of the time we had to control it with just five guys, but both Remco and the team showed a lot of character and adapted to all the different situations we encountered, and if there’s one thing that makes me super proud, it’s this”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Klaas Lodewyck.
“Many people weren’t born the last time Belgium had a Grand Tour winner, so it’s quite a special moment. Remco surprised everyone, including us, and showed what a phenomenal rider he is”, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl CEO Patrick Lefevere explained in Madrid. “I am happy he believed in us when he was 17 and we started our beautiful collaboration. It wasn’t easy for him, especially with that crash in Lombardia which took away maybe a year of his career, but he proved his fantastic character and came back stronger from that. It’s a great moment for him, for our team and for Belgium, one that people will remember forever, and I’m proud of Remco and this incredible team that gave everything and did a great race!”
Photo credit: © Tim De Waele / Getty Images