#7 Stijn Vandenberg
Cobbles Credentials: Ya know, if you were a Martian and had just been dropped into the Flemish countryside this winter/spring, you would think that Stijn Vandenberg was the leader of the OPQS team. You would also think that tactically, OPQS would do better if they had a rider with an even passable finishing kick to help out Stijn in the finales. And in both cases, you'd be right. Vandenberg has been a horse this spring. Too bad the rest of his team are having a hard time riding him to a great result.
The other interesting thing here is that Stijn is no babe like Sep and Jens. He's been knocking about for 29 years now so he's in his prime years. But more than that this is his career year. The years proceeding he's spent toiling towards the back of the peloton. Last year his best result was 9th on a bunch sprint in California. Year before that 12th on a Qatar stage. Did get a 9th at DdV in 2010. Won the Tour of Ireland in 2007 and U-23 Het Volk back in 04. I dunno; maybe he's had such an anonymous career because he's been on such anonymous cobbles teams: Unibet. Katusha. AG2R. zzzzzzzzz.
Well he's in his 2nd year at OPQS and he's, well a horse best describes him, no? Maybe he'll never be a tremendous machine but he's coming into his own. Go Stijn!
#10 Michael van Staeyen
Cobbles Credentials: Another 24 year old on Topsport, he's so far stuck to smaller, flatter races with results this year of 10th at the Handzame Classic, 9th at the Omloop van het Waasland and a win and 2nd place at Etoile des Besseges.