|Michal KWIATKOWSKI||Mark CAVENDISH||Matteo TRENTIN||Michal GOLAS||Rigoberto URAN URAN||Tony MARTIN||Julien VERMOTE||Mark RENSHAW||Zdenek STYBAR|
This piece of cycling history started with the new millennium when Patrick Lefévère left Mapei at the end of 2000 to create his own team, initially named Domo, then Quick Step from 2003 with the backing of various co-sponsors. The team is now owned by its majority shareholder, the Czech billionaire Zdenek Bakala.
Focused on the classics, the Belgian team has never been set up with the general classification of the Tour de France in mind. Indeed, its best final position was 11th place in 2013, by Michal Kwiatkowski, the current world champion. However, it has always been the talk of the town in July, in particular through hiring popular French riders. Lefevere did not regret giving a helping hand to Richard Virenque following his suspension in 2001, because the man from the Var succeeded in withstanding the attacks of the race’s favourites on the climb up Mont Ventoux the following year, and even put on the Yellow Jersey, eleven years after having first tried it on, in Morzine for Le Tour’s 100th birthday edition. It was with Quick Step in 2004 that Virenque completed his collection of seven Polka Dot Jerseys won in Paris and his French successors in the Belgian team did not disappoint either, since Cédric Vasseur and Sylvain Chavanel both won stages on Le Tour.
Nowadays, the spearheads of Etixx-Quick Step on Le Tour, in addition to Kwiatkowski, are Mark Cavendish for the bunch sprints, Tony Martin, who will be aiming for his first Yellow Jersey at Utrecht as well as breakaways that are just as daring as in the Vosges last year, and Matteo Trentin, a winner in the last two years, at Lyon then at Nancy, of moderately difficult stages. This is a hard-hitting team!
Stage victories: 24
- 2002: Richard Virenque on Mont Ventoux
- 2003: Richard Virenque at Morzine; Servais Knaven at Bordeaux
- 2004: Tom Boonen at Angers and in Paris; Richard Virenque at Saint-Flour; Juan Miguel Mercado at Lons-le-Saunier
- 2005: Tom Boonen at Les Essarts and at Tours
- 2006: Matteo Tosatto at Mâcon
- 2007: Gert Steegmans at Ghent; Tom Boonen at Bourg-en-Bresse and at Castres; Cédric Vasseur at Marseilles
- 2008: Gert Steegmans in Paris
- 2010: Sylvain Chavanel at Spa and Les Rousses
- 2013: Mark Cavendish at Marseilles and at Saint-Amand-Montrond; Tony Martin at Mont-Saint-Michel; Matteo Trentin at Lyon.
- 2013: Matteo Trentin at Nancy; Tony Martin at Mulhouse and at Périgueux
Victories in secondary classifications: 5
- 2003: Richard Virenque (Polka Dot Jersey)
- 2004: Richard Virenque (Polka Dot Jersey and most combative rider)
- 2007: Tom Boonen (Green Jersey)
- 2010: Sylvain Chavanel (most combative rider)
Yellow Jerseys: 7
- 2003: Richard Virenque, one day
- 2006: Tom Boonen, four days
- 2010: Sylvain Chavanel, two days
24: the number of stages won by Patrick Lefevere’s riders over twelve years, including seven by Belgians and six by Frenchmen.
12th July 2003: in the middle of Le Tour’s 100th birthday edition, Richard Virenque puts on an outlandish jersey in Morzine: half yellow and half polka dot… because he picked up both by winning the stage.
5th July 2006: as world champion, at the peak of his powers, Tom Boonen crosses Belgium in yellow (from Huy to Saint-Quentin) after having taken the general classification lead at Valkenburg.
18th July 2007: in an entirely French duel, Cédric Vasseur wins the stage in Marseilles by millimetres ahead of Sandy Casar and bids farewell to the Tour de France ten years after having worn the Yellow Jersey.