The young guns of Quick-Step Floors
The Vuelta a España got underway this week and, if the early signs are anything to go by, it’s set to be one of the more electrifying Grand Tours of recent years. One team that’s already set about grabbing the Spanish bull by the horns is Quick-Step Floors, who have racked up some impressive results in the first week. The Belgian team has brought a star-studded squad to the start line, but, as so often at La Vuelta, it’s some of the less well-known names who are finding themselves at the business end of proceedings. Here’s a look at three of the rising stars of Quick-Step’s Vuelta group:
Having been knocking on the door during classics season for some time, Yves Lampaert is beginning to establish himself as one of the peloton’s premier strongmen. The young Belgian has already worn red this Vuelta after his Quick-Step team executed a tactical masterclass in fierce crosswinds to tee him up for a do-or-die solo attack under the flamme rouge on stage two. Lampaert managed to hold off the oncoming bunch gallop for his most significant win to date, and will no doubt be on the hunt for another typically opportunistic win as the race progresses.
Davide de la Cruz
Whilst not among the youngest any longer, de la Cruz certainly remains a ‘gun’. The 28-year-old has been one of several Spaniards who have broken out at La Vuelta in recent editions, taking a stage win and a stellar 7th overall last year. Now looking to round off one of his finest seasons to date, de la Cruz has been climbing with the best of them in the opening stages, coming second on stage three and putting himself within striking distance of the race lead. With the backing of both a strong team and an entire nation, de la Cruz is sure to be one to watch as the race snakes towards Madrid.
22-year-old Mas takes the start in his first Grand Tour brimming with confidence, coming off a mightily impressive showing in the Vuelta a Burgos, where he was 2nd overall. Only a certain Mikel Landa was faster than the diminutive Spaniard, who exemplifies the adage that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Whilst a maiden Vuelta represents a steep learning curve for a neo-pro, the unpredictable nature of the race means it could be Mas who grabs the headlines on any given day with a breakout ride. He’s proven he has the legs, and personal ambitions aside, he will no doubt be a key ally for de la Cruz in the GC battle.
You too can get your hands on the bikes the Quick-Step boys will be putting to the test around Spain this month. See for yourself:
La Vuelta is so often a watershed moment in the careers of so many young pros, and you can be sure that these guys will continue to be at the forefront of the action throughout the race.
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