Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team happily returns as participants in the 36th Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, set to take place on March 10th in Cape Town, South Africa. This year, OPQS brings an additional rider to not only enjoy the experience of “the Argus,” but to also try and get a good result. The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour attracts 35,000 two-wheel enthusiasts to Cape Town every year. Over the past 36 years, the Cycle Tour has emerged as one of the greatest cycling events on the planet, thanks to perfect organization and a 110-kilometre route that passes through fascinating places. This year, riders will ride along the False Bay Coast, past the Cape of Good Hope, and will also feature beautiful views of the Atlantic Coast on the way to the finish.
In 2012, OPQS accepted an invitation from team lawyer and board member Auret van Zyl. Van Zyl is a former resident who helped the team explore the race and examine possibilities for the team in South Africa. OPQS returns in 2013 with a good feeling and hopes to build on the 2012 experience.
OPQS riders participating in the 2013 edition include Belgian Time Trial Champion and recent Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen winner Kristof Vandewalle, the King of the 6-Days Iljo Keisse, and young Julien Vermote. Vermote rode for OPQS also in 2012. The team hopes to further understand the dynamic of such a big event as the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour. However, it is not just the OPQS riders who will be attending.
“We will be there once again to participate in this event, as Team Owner Mr. Zdenek Bakala is a big fan of Cape Argus,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “He participated in this event many times in the last number of years, and he also has general interests in South Africa, so we decided to go there. Further, the entire OPQS Board will be there, as well as Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag. Our approach last year was to explore this big event and really absorb the atmosphere of the race. We enjoyed the experience and that is why we are here again to do even better than last year.”
“Last year was a unique experience,” Vermote said. “We really had fun and enjoyed our time there. Last year we only came with two riders — Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and me. This year we have three riders, so we are a stronger group and we will do our best to try and take the final victory.”
“It is not the first time I will ride this race,” Keisse said. “I was there a few years ago and was impressed with the level of competition and the standards of the South African riders, as well as the race organization. I think it will be, as usual, a difficult race with a high pace. If I remember in my last experience, the scenario was we arrived in a small group, and we then battled for the victory.”
“For me, it is my first time going to South Africa,” Vandewalle said. “I am happy to be a part of this race. I am really looking forward to this, and hope to come back with a good result from here not long after my victory at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen.”