Keisse sidelined from Belgian Championships with pleuritis

Iljo Keisse and Zdenek Stybar lead the way

Quick-Step Floors announced on Friday that Iljo Keisse will not be participating in the upcoming Belgian Road Championships , as he has been sidelined for several weeks to recover from pleurisy. The 35-year-old will also miss out on the selection for the upcoming Tour de France set to begin on July 7 in the Vendée region. "I am really sad to miss the Nationals because of this pleura inflammation," Keisse said in a team press release. "This also means I won’t be in the selection for the Tour de France anymore, which is really frustrating because I’ve worked hard to be in good shape for this part of the season and I was really motivated to be on the roster for July. "Unfortunately, this is also part of a rider’s life. I want to wish my teammates the best of luck in the upcoming weeks and I look forward to ...

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Van Poppel wins Halle-Ingooigem in photo finish

Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) wins Halle Ingooigem

Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the 71st edition of Halle-Ingooigem in Belgium on Tuesday in a reduced-bunch sprint ahead of Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors) and Sean De Bie (Veranda's Willems Crelan). The 24-year-old Dutchman notched his second win of the year after taking out a stage in Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in January. “Finally, I've been able to win again,” Van Poppel said. "I’m really pleased about it. In the last few weeks, I’ve been very close a few times, especially at the Giro d'Italia, so you can imagine how happy I am with this victory." Van Poppel and teammate Maarten Wynants bridged to a large leading group on the final lap of the race. Wynants then held the group together so that Van Poppel could launch his sprint. “It was really close between Jakobsen and me, but winning is winning," he said. "I was perfectly placed, and wanted ...

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Quick-Step focused on retaking Belgian jersey in Sunday road race

Philippe Gilbert wins 2017 Tour of Flanders

All national championships are important to teams and individual riders, but it's fair to say that Belgian super team Quick-Step Floors put an extra emphasis on winning the Belgian national jersey each year. The team's plans were foiled in the road in 2017 by AG2R La Mondiale 's Oliver Naesen , but Quick-Step are sending a strong contingent to the Belgian Championships to try and win back the title this year. Lining up for the 223.6km race in Binche on Sunday will be Laurens De Plus, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert and Pieter Serry. De Plus and reigning champion Yves Lampaert will contest the 43.2km race against the clock in Vichte on Thursday. "Of course, it’s no secret that the Belgian Championships are very important for us," said team director Tom Steels. "Yves is the reigning champion and looking at the route it should suit ...

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Paris-Nice: Sickness sweeps through the soaked peloton

Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)

The apocalyptic weather at the start of the final stage of Paris-Nice was the nail in the coffin for four more riders this morning, with Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecon), Christophe Laporte and Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis) all non starters for the 110-kilometre eighth stage. Meanwhile, as high winds and heavy ran buffeted the start area on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, the Groupama-FDJ team only mustered one rider, Rudy Molard , winner of stage six in Vence, after Olivier Le Gac, Ramon Sinkledam, Mickael Delage and Jacopo Gaurnieri all quit on the road to Saturday's summit finish at La Colmiane. On Saturday, Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) became the latest to join his colleagues in sick bay. "I felt bad during the race," Martin said. "My legs had no power and I was struggling to stay with the peloton. Half of the peloton is sick." Now Martin ...

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Viviani and Alaphilippe lead Quick-Step Floors at Paris-Nice

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) wins stage 5 of the Dubai Tour.

Quick-Step Floors have confirmed that Elia Viviani and Julian Alaphilippe will lead the Belgian team at Paris-Nice , with Fernando Gaviria and Philippe Gilbert due to ride Tirreno-Adriatico as they prepare for Milan-San Remo and the Cobbled Classics. Viviani has impressed in the early-season sprints thanks to better support from the Quick-Step Floors lead out train. He has won a stage at the Tour Down Under, two stages and the overall at the Dubai Tour and a stage at last week's Abu Dhabi Tour. He has already raced for 17 days in 2018 and will target the sprint stages in the opening days of Paris-Nice. Viviani will have the support of domestiques Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Belgian national time trial champion Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Sabatini. Alaphilippe will take over team leadership as Paris-Nice heads south and into the hills. The aggressive Frenchman won the time trial stage ...

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Impey still top of WorldTour rankings

2018 Tour Down Under winner Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)

Despite not racing either the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad or the Abu Dhabi Tour , Daryl Impey remains top of the individual WorldTour rankings. The South African amassed 800 points over the Australian summer via his overall Tour Down Under win and second place finish at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. After the four opening WorldTour races of 2018, Impey's Mitchelton-Scott outfit has been replaced at the top of the team rankings by QuickStep-Floors . The Belgium squad has 1169 points compared to the 1056 points of the Australian team. Of the first four WorldTour races of 2018, the Tour Down Under awarded 500 points to the winner while at the following three races, 300 points was on offer. Michael Valgren (Astana) rises to ninth after his weekend victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad . Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was making his 2018 WorldTour debut at the Abu Dhabi Tour and ...

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Quick-Step Floors meet the press ahead of Belgian opening weekend - Gallery

Philippe Gilbert hands off to Fernando Gaviria as Iljo Keisse looks on

On Saturday, February 24 and Sunday 25, Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of the men’s races at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne , from start to finish, here . Quick-Step Floors used the occasion of the team's press conference preceding Belgium's 'opening weekend' to announce the team's latest initiative: the grand opening of the Quick-Step Pop-Up Store in the Ring Shopping Centre in Kortrijk, about two hours southwest of Gent. With just Dries Devenyns missing, the riders who will take on Omloop and its revised finish - Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra - assumed their spots centre stage with director Tom Steels and manager Patrick Lefevere, taking questions from the assembled media before breaking off for one-on-one interviews. Gilbert, who could tie with Ernest Sterckx ('52, '53, '56), Joseph Bruyère ('74, '75, '80) and Peter Van Petegem ('97, '98, '02) as ...

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