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The 2018 Spring Classics by numbers: Domination for Quick-Step Floors

Joe Robinson
23 Apr 2018

This Spring proved an annus mirabilis for Quick-Step Floors but one to forget for Team Sky

Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege brought an end to the 2018 Spring Classics, which while by no means a vintage campaign, did produce some memorable moments with a few surprises along the way.

The undeniable winners of the past eight weeks of racing were Quick-Step Floors, who have proved the dominant force in one-day racing yet again. They were near-unstoppable at points but their tally of results, while impressive, still only speaks for half of their racing prowess so far in 2018.

Firstly, just assess the sheer amount of victories for a testament to their grip on the Spring of 2018. No fewer than 10 of the one-day classics, starting at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in late February and finishing at Liege last weekend, were won by Patrick Lefevere's men.

These 10 victories were shared across eight of the Quick-Step roster with Niki Terpstra and Fabio Jakobsen both getting a brace of wins across the spring. This is even more remarkable when you consider that Philippe Gilbert and Zdenek Stybar, two of the team's biggest names, came away empty-handed.

Terpstra was unstoppable at points this Spring

Two of the first four Monuments of the season were taken by 'The Wolfpack' – thanks to Terpstra's win at the Tour of Flanders and Bob Jungels impressive win at Liege.

Jakobsen, a first year pro, Alvaro Hodeg and Remi Cavangna made up part of the raft of young talent taking up the baton at Quick-Step. All three of the riders are still under the age of 23.

For some this was a spring to forget, chief among them Team Sky. The British WorldTour team have never got the Spring Classics quite right and that has now rolled on for yet another year. Despite having such a strong team, they were left empty-handed.

In fact, the big-budget teams only managed to bag one top-10 for the entire Spring, Sergio Henao's ninth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Owain Doull was the only Brit to finish Paris-Roubaix

Dylan Van Baarle's 12th and 19th at were the best results for Team Sky at the Flanders and Paris-Roubaix respectively, far from the mark for a team that has £32m to spend each year.

A lot was expected of Pole Michal Kwiatkowski across both the Cobbled and Ardennes Classics. With 11th in his defence of Milan-San Remo his only result of note, this spring was one to forget.

In terms of individuals, take your pick from Quick-Step with most chipping in with a win or podium at some point with some other individual riders elsewhere showing extremely consistent results.

While no one could replicate the efforts of Greg Van Avermaet from 2017, Terpstra was head and shoulders the strongest rider on the cobbles. 

A win at Le Samyn got the ball rolling before Terpstra bagged the second Monument of the year at Flanders, just a week after winning E3 Harelbeke. Third at Paris-Roubaix and ninth at Dwars door Vlaanderen added a cherry on top.

Stuyven is getting closer to Monument success

Despite lacking a victory, the consistency of Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) was also worth noting. Stuyven managed tenth, seventh and fifth at San Remo, Flanders and Roubaix resepectively, which was mighty impressive.

The Ardennes also missed one rider proving dominant although a few did ride well across the week of racing, both relative surprises. 

Romain Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott) started his Ardennes campaign with second at Amstel Gold, and finished it with eighth at Liege. In between, Kreuziger also bagged a solid fourth at Fleche Wallonne.

Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Soudal) was also impressive in his performances, launching attacks throughout the Ardennes, culminating in a third placed finish atop the Mur de Huy at Wallonne. 

The one major disappointment from the Ardennes was Alejandro Valverde. Finally, Bala proved he is human after all drawing a blank from Amstel through to Liege.

This may be considered harsh when you realise he in fact finished 5th, 2nd and 13th but we have come to expect so much more and at 37 years old, this may have been his final season in contention.