ETIXX ARE NO LONGER A CLASSICS TEAM
Etixx-Quick Step won the most races of any team, as they have done every year since 2013. But, while Tom Boonen came agonisingly close at Paris-Roubaix, they drew a blank in the 2016 Classics campaign. With Sagan dominant on the cobbles, team owner Patrick Lefevere appears to have taken note of the way the wind is blowing, and has spent a few years quietly assembling a multi-talented team that is now a real threat on every terrain.
In Dan Martin and Julian Alaphilippe, they have options for Liège and Lombardia. Martin’s also still improving in the Grand Tours, with a career best of ninth in the Tour de France; if he’d saved himself another minute, he’d have been sixth. In Bob Jungels, they also have a thoroughbred rouleur/Grand Tour rider in the mould of Greg LeMond or Laurent Fignon, and he is Etixx’s most exciting stage race prospect.
Etixx will be the centre of attention in the Classics next year, as they always are. But it’s in the other eight months of the season that they are now making their biggest gains.