The best moments of 2018
After a stellar 2017 season, the bar was set extremely high for 2018. We started out the year thinking that it would be tough to match 2017, nigh on impossible to surpass it. Well, I suppose you could say we’ve done the impossible then, smashing just about every race that came our way, no matter the discipline.
We’ve scored more victories than you could possibly count, broken records in some of the world’s biggest races and taken home a handful of rainbow jerseys, but what were our favourite moments of the season? Here is our pick of the bunch…
A super spring
If there was an official ranking of one-day wins per bike brand, then we would have surely dominated the competition this spring. With the Boels-Dolmans ladies and Quick-Step Floors and Bora-Hansgrohe men’s teams riding our bikes this spring, we knew we’d have stories to tell.
There are few races more iconic than the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, so much so that they’re often nicknamed the King and Queen of the classics. We won them both with Niki Terpstra and Peter Sagan showing the world just how incredible our S-Works Roubaix truly is.
We also dominated the women’s one-day classics, mainly thanks to Anna van der Breggen who took emphatic solo victories in Strade Bianche, the Tour of Flanders, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In the bumpier Cobbled Classics, Van der Breggen rode the resilient S-Works Ruby, a bike designed to fly over the cobbled roads of Northern France and Flanders. In the hillier Ardennes races, Van der Breggen piloted the brilliant, all-round women’s S-Works Tarmac to two impressive victories, demonstrating its incredible versatility on both the climbs and flat wind-swept roads.
With Van der Breggen setting the bar high in the Ardennes, it was then up to the men’s teams to deliver and deliver they sure did. Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels ensured that we took both the men’s and women’s titles in La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The two Quick-Step Floors riders piloted the lightweight Tarmac to each of their victories, with Alaphilippe demonstrating its power in uphill sprints and Jungels showing off its handling capabilities as he ducked and dived through the narrow streets and descents around Liège.
When it came to sprinting in 2018, there weren’t many faster riders than Elia Viviani and Sam Bennett. The pair lit up this spring’s Giro d’Italia for their respective teams, taking an impressive seven stages between them and Viviani clinching the maglia ciclamino points jersey. Both riders piloted the Venge during the Giro, showcasing its nimble responsiveness and unparalleled aero capabilities.
Our riders also performed well in the Giro’s mountains. Max Schachmann powered to an impressive maiden Grand Tour stage win on the ultralight S-Works Tarmac and the Bora-Hansgrohe duo of Patrick Konrad and Davide Formolo rode the same bike to impressive top-10 spots overall.
A record-breaking Tour
The Tour de France couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for us this summer. Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan dominated the bunch sprint stages of the first week, taking four stages between them and enjoying a day in yellow apiece.
Gaviria had to abandon the race after the first week but Sagan soldiered on, breaking numerous records in the process. The world champion took his third stage win of the race on stage 13, bolstering his lead in the green jersey competition. The day also marked Sagan’s 97th in a leaders jersey, which broke a record previously held by The Cannibal himself, Eddy Merckx (96 days in yellow).
As Sagan pedalled onto the Champs-Elysées at the end of the race, his Tour records stood like this:
- 130 race days
- 106 days in the green jersey
- 66 top 10 finishes
- 55 top 5 finishes
- 42 podiums, of which 10 were 3rd and 21 were 2nd
- 11 stage wins
- 6 points classification victories
Now that is one seriously impressive record for a rider who is still just 28 years young.
MTB worlds domination
As the MTB and road seasons began to draw to a close, attention turned to the worlds and the lure of the ever-elusive rainbow jerseys. At the MTB worlds in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, it was young American, Kate Courtney, who kicked off our rainbow-coloured week, taking an unbelievable solo victory in the women’s XCO race after gapping the super-strong Annika Langvad (also Specialized) on the final lap.
Courtney became one of the youngest Americans to ever don the rainbow stripes at just 22-years old and took the nation’s first world title in the event since 2001 while she was at it. She rode her custom S-Works Epic at the World Champs, a bike she affectionately nicknames her “American race rocket” for its power and prowess over rough, cross-country terrain.
In the downhill competition, it was the defending champion, Loïc Bruni, who flew faster than the rest of the men’s field to take his third rainbow jersey. Bruni rides a very bling S-Works Demo 8, equipped with some of best downhill tech available, as well as some of his own secret components.
Innsbruck’s triple rainbow
As one of the final races of the season, the road World Championships in Innsbruck was the last chance for our riders to impress and lay claim to that unofficial, ‘best bike brand of the year’ award.
Quick-Step Floors got us off to an amazing start, taking an emphatic victory in the men’s TTT event aboard their lightning-quick Shiv TT machines. The boys in blue crushed the defending champions, Team Sunweb, as well as the ever-disciplined BMC Racing Team, all with an extremely youthful line-up.
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