Team AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step Presented

Four days after capping off a great week of racing at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana by winning the general classification, the AG Insurance–Soudal Quick-Step team was officially presented to the media at the AG Campus in Brussels. Comprising sixteen riders from ten different countries, AG Insurance–Soudal Quick Step has had a great start to the season, already amassing four victories in the past two weeks. It is a well-deserved reward for a team with an ethos of sustainable cycling and multi-layered development that starts from the juniors and passes through the U23 ranks on its way to the Elite. The team presentation event was also attended by this U23 branch of the squad, along with team manager Natascha den Ouden, sports manager Servais Knaven, and sports director Jolien D’hoore. It marked the start of a new chapter in the team’s history.

“I am happy to have so many people here in our campus, which stands for innovation and training and it’s a symbol of our connection with the team,” said AG Insurance CEO Heidi Delobelle, “As Belgian market leaders, we want to play a role and bring our contribution to making the world a better place. The connection with cycling is only natural, because it’s a sport embraced by many people around the whole world. This team we give an opportunity to women’s cycling and our hope is that these riders we have here today will inspire future generations.”

Team Manager Natascha den Ouden explained, “This project began in 2018. Along the way we found Patrick Lefevere and he immediately joined and helped us, creating this connection with AG, Soudal, Quick-Step and all the partners who are here today and are helping us live our dream and develop. We’ve already had success this season, and I am convinced this alone will unlock our potential.”

“We rely on a very balanced squad, a mix of young and experienced riders,” said sports manager Servais Knaven. “There’s a lot of talent here, we can play a role everywhere and we will try to be there in all the races.”

Soudal sponsor manager Marko Heijl added, “It’s important for us to be behind this team. Our company stands for inclusion and being present here it’s just another way for us to show that. Women’s cycling is booming and we know things will continue moving in the right direction in the years to come.”

Ruben Desmet, President of Unilin said, “Quick-Step has been in cycling for 25 years now, so when we were presented with this opportunity we immediately came aboard. We are delighted to be part of it and we will continue to give it all our support.”

Having won more than forty races during her career as a rider, sports director Jolien d’Hoore is delighted to continue to help women’s cycling grow. She explained, “I’m really excited to be part of this team. It’s important to win, but also the atmosphere can make the difference and this is the case here. Happy head means fast legs and that’s our motto, that’s how we are trying to combine having fun in life with giving our best in training and in races.”

Ashleigh Moolman, who kicked off the party last week at the Setmana Ciclista by taking a resounding victory on stage three out of a three-rider group, couldn’t hide her excitement after her win at the thought of what lies ahead for this team. “First race here, first win for myself and the GC for the squad. We couldn’t have asked for more. The team and the atmosphere are the main reasons behind this success. We work for the same goal, all the time. Natascha, Servais, and all the people in the team laid down the foundation and now it’s up to us to show our philosophy and be on top of our game. The Tour de France is an objective this year. At the previous edition I was sick and had to retire, but I have high hopes for this season surrounded by this team.”

Her feelings were echoed by 26-year-old Justine Ghekiere, the overall winner of the Spanish race and the first Belgian to triumph there since the event was created. “When I came to this team, I strongly believed I could become a better rider in this environment. I already learned a lot and what happened in Valenciana was thanks to the team. So far, this new step in my life has been an incredible experience and I don’t want to stop here.”

Mireia Benito concluded, “It’s fantastic to be in this team and help each other. Cycling is beautiful, it’s something simple at its core, but capable of uniting so many people. We know that if you focus on yourself you can’t grow as an individual, or as a team for that matter, that’s why it’s important to stick together and always believe and work for the same goal.”

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