The team's 71st victory of the year came after a superbly-executed plan by the Quick-Step Floors riders.
Perfection rarely exists, but when it does, it can take various incarnations. On Saturday, it came under the form of the Quick-Step Floors lead-out train, which bossed the Tour of Turkey stage 5 finale and propelled 22-year-old Alvaro Hodeg to a beautiful victory on the streets of Manisa, a city making its first appearance this century at the race.
Quick-Step Floors were in absolute control of the stage from start to finish, with Tim Declercq marshaling the front of the bunch for the better part of the 135.7km stage and relentlessly chasing the five escapees who got reeled in inside the final ten kilometers following an injection of pace from James Knox, the team's best performer on the queen stage, who took over the reins for the closing kilometers, pushing a huge tempo that made it hard for the others to overtake the tremendous train which included also Iljo Keisse, Zdenek Stybar and Max Richeze.
After Keisse and Stybar kept Quick-Step Floors in the driving seat as they passed under the red kite, Richeze proved again why he is one of the best lead-out men of our times, maintaining a high speed before peeling off the front only with 100 meters to go and leaving Alvaro Hodeg in an ideal position, from which the young Colombian couldn't miss, comfortably beating John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) for his third World Tour victory of the year.
"I am proud of how the team controlled the race today, especially the last kilometers, which were perfect. They were all amazing and I want to thank the guys, because without them it wouldn't have been possible to pull it off and get my fifth success in the Quick-Step Floors jersey", an emotional Alvaro said after netting the team's 71st win of the season, an astounding number which serves to underline out outfit's utter dominance in 2018.
"We knew the final it was a bit uphill and with some headwind, so I followed the instructions of Max, who placed me perfectly to open the sprint in the last 100 meters. Every victory is special, but this is really something, because it came in my last race of the year and I am happy I could repay the squad for the trust they put in me. The Tour of Turkey ends tomorrow and we hope we will finish it in style", said Alvaro of the stage that will take the peloton to Istanbul.
Photo credit: ©Alex Livesey/ Getty Images