He has often brushed it aside in recent weeks, but in ‘La Dernière Heure’ Patrick Lefevere (68) has once again spoken out broadly. The manager of Soudal Quick-Step about the canceled merger with Jumbo-Visma, Remco Evenepoel and money from Saudi Arabia. “Who says they don’t want to invest?”
LOOK. Patrick Lefevere did not want to say anything on the Crystal Bike about the canceled merger with Jumbo-Visma
The team days will continue at Soudal Quick-Step in mid-November after a month’s postponement. Only then will the possible programs of the riders be discussed, Patrick Lefevere reveals in an interview with ‘La Dernière Heure’. The hottest point of discussion will of course be Remco Evenepoel’s annual schedule. “Now that the Tour of San Juan is no longer taking place, the Tour of Colombia in early February is a realistic option to start the season,” says Lefevere.
Evenepoel will focus on the Tour for the first time next year, but hinted at the idea of linking the Giro to it. As far as Lefevere is concerned, that is not happening. “It has never been discussed in concrete terms and I know that his trainer Koen Pelgrim and his sports director Klaas Lodewyck do not think it is a good idea either. What do I think of the Strade Bianche as preparation for the gravel stage in the Tour? I think that is a dangerous race, there is a greater chance that we will see Evenepoel in Milan-San Remo in the spring.”
“Because Remco had to retire from the Giro this year and was unable to compete for the final podium in the Vuelta, we are still not sure at what level he can compete in a race like the Tour with guests like Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar,” Lefevere continues. “The ideal thing after his Vuelta victory in 2022 was to ride a Giro at full speed this year, but due to setbacks he will have to take a leap of faith in the Tour next year and discover everything for himself.”
Lefevere also talked about the past period, which was dominated by the merger talks with Jumbo-Visma. “Those were not fun times, but that was even more true for the drivers and team staff. They asked themselves legitimate questions, I did everything I could not to let them down. When the main owners of the teams were discussing, I suggested that we aim for 2025, but they wanted to go faster.”
“There is a majority shareholder (Zdenek Bakala, ed.) and if he decides to sell, you can’t do anything. Ultimately, both teams took different paths. The matter is over, but that does not mean that other avenues are not possible for our team. Who says they don’t want to board from Saudi Arabia? There is always a lot of criticism, but I now conclude that they will organize the Football World Cup in 2034. Money has no smell in that regard.”
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss anything from the stars.
Yes, I want free unlimited access