Saturday’s result kept our squad at the top of the UCI World Team Classification.
Two unforgettable years for Elia Viviani in the Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey came to an end this Saturday, when the Italian sprinted to second place at the Tacx Pro Classic, after 200 hard kilometers, which featured narrow roads, cobblestones, and occasionally, rain and unnerving crosswinds that splintered the peloton, leaving some 40-odd riders to fight for victory in Neeltje Jans, an artificial island in the province of Zeeland.
Our team worked tirelessly at the front of the peloton with the likes of Tim Declercq, Sam Gaze and Iljo Keisse as soon as a break formed, chewing into the escapees’ advantage and making sure of bringing them back with 20 kilometers remaining, on the local circuit. The Wolfpack took the reins also in the closing stages of the race, bringing Viviani to the front and having Florian Sénéchal drop off the Italian speedster into position 300 meters from the line.
The European Champion kicked out inside the last 200 meters as he tried to anticipate, and came close to victory, only to be denied by Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) in the final meters of the Dutch race. With this result, Elia signed off his time with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, a fantastic two seasons that have seen the man from Isola della Scala become one of the world’s best sprinters and enhance his palmares with a total of 29 wins – including eight Grand Tour stages, a national title and several Classics – and 50 top 3 placings, an astounding feat for the now 30-year-old.
“It feels a bit strange knowing this was my last race with the team. The last two years have been really unbelievable, and I made some big steps forward and entered into another dimension as a rider. I want to thank the squad – everyone from the riders to the mechanics and from the soigneurs to Patrick – for putting their confidence in me”, an emotional Elia said. “I am happy that I leave so many beautiful things behind me while I take a lot of memories with me after these two extraordinary years. It’s impossible to name just one special moment, because there were lots of unforgettable moments that I got to live with the Wolfpack. It’s been an honour to ride for this team and with such an amazing group of guys!”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere was full of praise for Viviani, one of the most successful riders in the history of our outfit: “It has been a real pleasure, for both sides I’m sure, to have Elia on the squad in the last two years. We built a very nice team around him and he repaid us handsomely, with a lot of beautiful victories in many races, from the Giro to the Tour, and from the Nationals to the World Tour one-day races. Equally important was that he showed professionalism until the very end, late into the season, and this is a thing which means a lot for us, seeing that a great rider is also a great person.”
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