Cycling - Cavendish hails OPQS dynasty

Mark Cavendish is relishing his first season with Omega Pharma-Quick-Step and is looking forward to being part of a "dynasty".

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Mark Cavendish at Team Sky

The 27-year-old left Team Sky after just one season and signed a three-year contract with the Belgian outfit.

"For me, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step is the most traditional team out there, with the most historical roots," Cavendish said at the OPQS team presentation at the Eddy Merckx Velodrome in Gent. 

"This team is steeped in the culture of cycling. Ask any young rider, especially the young classics rider what team they want to ride with. They will say OPQS without hesitation. To be a part of this dynasty is something. I am so excited for this opportunity."

Cavendish said he watched OPQS "in awe" last year.

"The Classics, the wins at the World TTT and the ITT — they were the most dominant team in the world," Cavendish added.

"All that was missing was the Grand Tour stages, so that was the perfect opportunity for me to fit in this year."

And team-mate Tom Boonen, who became the first cyclist ever to win the Flemish cobblestone quadruple of E3 Harelbeke, Gent–Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix in the same year in 2012, is hoping the Manxman can provide a 1-2 punch in this spring’s Classics.

"When (team manager) Patrick Lefevere talked with me about the arrival of Cavendish, I was immediately happy about it," Boonen said.

"I knew the skills of Mark and how strong he is. I think this year we can also collaborate well in a few races, such as Milan-San Remo, or races where either one of us could go for the victory."

Boonen was also asked about his goals this season, and his ambitions for the Classics.

"The Classics are always the objective," Boonen said. "I will try to do my best at Paris-Roubaix or Ronde Van Vlaanderen, and maybe other big races. But this presentation is not just about my goals. This presentation is about the great team I am surrounded with, including the riders, staff, and sponsors."

Lefevere said he has hopes for ranking improvements at the UCI WorldTour level.

"I'd like for OPQS to be at the top of the world rankings," Lefevere said. "This means all of our riders reach their goals. We want to get in the top three of the World Tour rankings, as we were fourth in 2012."

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