Patrick Lefevere’s stable guarantees a bag full of victories every season. Expectations are no different in 2022. Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl sponsor talks about its leaders, particularly Remco Evenepoel. “Let’s be sober and applaud what he does.”
Patrick Lefevre once again shone with pride at the annual Press Day where all the victories – over 60 – from 2021 were highlighted. Is the foreman working as usual?
“It’s never like that,” says the 67-year-old team manager. “Otherwise, you’d better stop.” “Every year there is tension. The hurdle is very high for us because of our standing. We break a record every year left or right and then we want to continue that momentum.”
One leader who should help make this happen is Remco Evenepoel. What has his team learned since 2021, including the first big round in the 21-year-old single player Eveningpole’s career?
“First of all, we hope he can race and that looks good. If he can start in a healthy way, we are convinced we will see Remco again from its first year: driving as fast as possible and unleashing the competition.”
Evenepoel seems to divide society in two.
“We’re trying to curb the fuss about that,” says Lefevere himself. “It was sometimes just too big, just like expectations.”
“Remco seems to split society in two, but you only have to do it in this lifetime.”
“People talk about conflicts at the Games and the World Cup, but if there were conflicts, they didn’t happen in our team.”
“For the national coach to say fewer pro guys are needed around Eveningpool? They’re not on our squad, right. What do you have to say no? He was still standing before Strady’s trip in the Giroud (where Evenpoel received a second hit)”.
“We also have a good relationship with national coach Sven Vanthornhout and his assistant Serge Pauwels. They will be here on Tuesday and we will have coffee. For me, there are no problems.”
People talk about conflicts at the Games and the World Cup, but if there were conflicts, they wouldn’t happen in our team.
Should the team also put a hand on their lap? Was Quick Step swept up in the Giro frenzy last year?
“Sometimes something is set up and if you see it and you want to hit the brakes it’s already too late. You brake, but you know you’re going to drive on the roundabout.”
“Let’s be sober and applaud what Remco does. He brings the spectacle.”
“Where should Julian Alaphilippe release Wout van Aert and his associates?”
Another key figure within the team is Julian Alphilippi. The Frenchman won “only” 3 races in 2021 – a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico, Fleisch Wallon and the first stage on the Tour. He has extended his world title as an apotheosis.
“3 wins was not good enough,” judges the team boss, “but everyone underestimates the weight of the rainbow jersey.”
“He hasn’t lost any of his qualities, but 5 years ago Pogacar, Roglic, Van Art and Van der Poel weren’t there yet.”
“They are there now and they have the same qualities. Where should you release them? This is not working like it used to.”
“Everyone knows Julian and sees him too. But the victories that were there were allowed to be seen. And the World Cup was icing on the cake.”
We made an effort for Ilan Van Wilder.
Ilan Van Wilder is one of the six new faces. The foreman laughed faintly: “He was the last newcomer, and sometimes the last is the first.”
“We made an effort. He was in trouble with his team and his knee issues were resolved as well.”
“He’ll get a few more chances. Hopefully we’ll see Elan again from the U23s. Big round? I think we’ll go for the Giro.”
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