[First in a series, where I devote as much time as I have available (none) to writing short previews that attempt to do something, anything, other than regurgitate the CW preseason "ride a little better this year" drivel.]
Attributes: The team rides well in Flanders. They have a fat budget. Tom Boonen walks on water.
Problems: Where do you slot all the stars? Also, is there any way they can do something different for a change? I mean, after ten seasons of focusing on Flanders-Roubaix week, is it maybe time to branch out a bit?
Key Rider(s): Stijn Devolder and Wouter Weylandt. The former has the potential to win somewhere other than the usual races where Quick Step wins. The latter is, well, a talented hopeful. A big year by either one might make the team look at least slightly different. Dare I say... dynamic?
Key Moment: Flanders-Roubaix week. OK, I give up. But hey, if they sweep the podiums... it's not like they have nothing left to accomplish.
Passing Thought: Last year Boonen climbed a step up as a rider with the Green Jersey. Seems generally acknowledged that winning the maillot vert signifies consistency and cunning over the three weeks of the Tour de France, not to mention a pretty fair sprint. Not only is it difficult but pretty prestigious. So does it do Boonen any good? Will it remain a priority? Do Belgian kids grow up dreaming of points, or are classics wins the sole currency? Somehow I doubt it -- if they did, Boonen wouldn't be the first Belgian winner in 19 years. But it's worth wondering, because Boonen could be one of the greats of the Green Jersey.