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"Time will tell if that was a mistake, but I do not think the team is weaker than before. Whether we have abandoned the Tour de France goals? No, it's still a dream to win it."

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele








09.01.2016 @ 14:55 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Manager Patrick Lefevere has big dreams for his Etixx-QuickStep team. This year he is hoping for a victory for Boonen and in the future he hopes for an overall win in the Tour de France for Bob Jungels or perhaps Laurens De Plus. He does not dare to predict what will happen to the team in the future.


At the end of the season, Lefevere lost a lot of big names: Uran, Kwiatkowski and Cavendish. "Time will tell if that was a mistake, but I do not think the team is weaker than before. Whether we have abandoned the Tour de France goals? No, it's still a dream to win it,” he tells Sporza.


"We now have Daniel Martin. I'm not saying he'll win the Giro or the Tour, but he has proven that he can be in the top 10. We also invest a lot in our young riders. We're looking for guys with a big engine. Who knows, whether someone is ready very soon.


"Laurens De Plus? Why not? He has such a motor and is a good descender. But we are not going to wear him down. He was afraid to become a professional at this age so I promised him to take care of him.


"It is also wait and see with Bob Jungels. First we have to see if he is able to win a one-week race. What I have seen is that he was one of the best riders in the third week of the Tour. From this kind of riders, you will get a lot but I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on his shoulders yet.”


In the beginning of the year, all eyes are focused on Tom Boonen. What can he still achieve? "First and foremost, he must try to forget that heavy crash in Abu Dhabi. I hope that he has no physical injuries left. Then we can see what he's worth in the spring races.


"We must not forget that he has missed the classics twice in the past three years. But I'm sure he can still win. If everything goes well, it should work out. It obviously depends on his shape. If he has another day like in Paris-Roubaix in 2012, then you know that it is possible.


"If he wins Roubaix and then announces his retirement: it would be great. There still is an aura around Boonen, the four-time winner of Paris-Roubaix and the three-time winner of the Tour of Flanders. If he does not win, he is still able to help the team win.

"We have a strong team for the spring. We can bet on several horses and that is necessary. How else can we beat Kristoff or Degenkolb?


"My riders have a contract until the end of 2017. I know I will have questions about 2018 this year, but it is too early to say anything about that. I work on the future, but we'll see . There's something wrong with the business model of cycling, but I'm not going to lose any sleep about that in the final part of my career.


"90 percent of our income comes from sponsors and the entry fees are the same as in 2005. I think everyone has to put their ego aside and be willing to share the cake. We keep talking, but nothing happens.


"Whether it is healthy that five teams depend on a patron and three of a national lottery? No, but it's better than nothing. Large multinational companies are not interested. The main bodies fight against each other and that’s not easy to sell.


"Whether Tinkov wiill really stop? He's a little crazy so you should be careful, but I think it’s serious. He does not agree with the way things are but to my knowledge he has still not convened a single meeting.”



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