Procycling - - Review Of The Year 2016 -

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.

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